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Isabel Losada

Men!

Isabel LosadaCristina Favento (CF): I guess your positive and acting attitude is coming from that kind of experiences you lived and reported in your previous books like A Beginner’s Guide to Changing the World: For Tibet, with Love and The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment, can you give us a small “taste” about presenting them by yourself?

Isabel Losada (IL): In my work and my books the major subject that I’m interested in is happiness and living life to the full. In ‘The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment’ I look at Happiness and how we can learn to enjoy it regardless of external events — so even if we lose our job, our boyfriend leaves us and our house burns down we are able to say ‘Ah -this is an interesting experience! I’m not interested in superficial ‘positive thinking’ but in being happy regardless of the sorrow that everyone experiences.

After that book one of the critics accused me of spending too much time examining my navel — which I thought was fair comment and so ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Changing the World’ is about exploring the old question of what difference one individual can make to an major issue — in this case the cause of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

CF: You’re also an actrice, a producer, a mother and much more… How it comes that you also decided to write this kind of “life instruction” books? How did you manage to fit this with all your other activities?

IL: Some professional writers do not enjoy writing… which is a bit of a mystery to me. It is a very hard profession and all my other loves, namely acting and singing, have now taken a back place… but I love writing. I do not recommend anyone considering a career as a writer unless they love writing… it is very solitary and you have to love the writing process more than anything else. In my case — because I write non-fiction and my books are all about my crazy true life activities — I have to live a weird life so that I have good material to write about. I think it’s very funny that you describe my work as like a life instruction book. I suppose that because I lost both my parents and all my family by the time I was 19 and have no brothers or sisters my life has been hard. I have had to make a study of how to live it well and I like to pass on to others the best of what I learn.

CF: It is tiring to be always so positive and smiling like you seem to be? What’s your secret?

Isabel LosadaIL: Ha ha. Well my secret is that I sleep a lot. But no — I think it is much more tiring for those who carry around anger, resentment, and who do not study how to forgive others. If you study the life of the wise Gandhi, Mandela, Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jesus Christ, or any of the wise spiritual teachers living today — you will soon learn that being at peace with everyone and maintaining an optimistic outlook at all times is much less tiring than holding any kind of grudge. Look at Mandela — you could have expected him to be tired after 29 years in prison but he positively skipped out.

I come across many people that use up lots of energy being angry or holding on to resentment — there are so many ways to be free of these unnecessary burdens and then we are able to be happy and love and support our fellow human beings. I am sometimes sad — I haven’t yet found a cure for sadness. But life is short and people who learn how to be happy themselves are then able to spread joy to those around them. To make a marriage happy — be happy yourself. To raise happy children — be happy yourself. So the old cliché is true that we can’t change others but we can change ourselves. This is good news — surely?

CF: Your last book, Men!, was published in Italy in April and, of course, it was presented in your country before. How have been the feedbacks about?

IL: I have had many many letters from women as a result of ‘Men!’ being published. As we know — relations between men and women — marriage, unfaithfulness, lies of all kinds — this causes more unhappiness than anything. I only wish that I could find men for all the women out there that are alone — especially women in their 30s and early 40s that would like to marry and have a family but can’t find a man that they would like to be the father of their children. I was surprised by the number of women that have written to me confiding that they are having sperm donated and plan to have children alone. I don’t know whether the lack of good men is as bad a problem in Italy as it is here — but in England it is almost an epidemic. I very much wanted to re-assure the women that there is nothing wrong with them. We do not need to have surgery, diet or see therapists etc… I don’t think there is anything wrong with us!
The good news — is that we only need to find one!

CF: Maybe your male friends were not so happy to discover you wouldn’t advice a date with them…
How was in general the male reactions? Did you received any complain from the men mentioned in the book, like the bike raiders for example?

IL: No — the irony was — that in all the book, and despite looking very very carefully, I met very few single men. The bike riders were all married. Nearly all the men I met were married (often not happily but feeling unable to leave and move on.) I still have very few male friends that are genuinely single but I do know many many beautiful single women — which is one of reasons that I decided to write the book. Also the book has mainly been read by women. I did get the odd furious email from a man — telling me about all the bad things that have been done to him by women. But, as I always explain, the book is not against men at all. On the contrary — it’s about wanting to find some.

CF: Did you notice any difference in readers’ reaction that can be related to the different country situations?

IL: It is too early to know reaction from other countries. But I know from travelling to promote previous books that this problem that women have with men and the lack of balance of numbers is an international problem. As I said in the book — when I went to Japan the women there said ‘We don’t like Japanese men — we prefer English men’ — Chinese women have very little good to say about Chinese men, Spanish women said, ‘Stay away from Spanish men!’ and I remember a woman in Italy asking me ‘Where are the best men?’ I really didn’t know what to say…

CF: Why do you think we are in this unbalanced situation?

IL: Well this is a complex question. It took a book even to begin to answer it. Part of it is to ask — why are there so many homosexuals of both sexes? Because that definitely plays a role. There are still many many more homosexual men than women but no-one knows why.

Then obviously there are the negative aspects of all that women have gained from the feminist movement. Just as many men no longer know how to be men — in that they no longer feel confident to display qualities that we have traditionally associated with masculine energy — ie strength, leadership, initiative… Women are also guilty of no longer displaying some of the qualities that are traditionally associated with being feminine, receptiveness, vulnerability, listening, nurturing. Most women are now stronger than most men… so of course the men are lost. As many of them told me — if a man stands up on a train to offer a woman a chair she is as likely to insult him as to thank him. ‘I am able to stand up you know — even though I’m female.’ Many men are scared of us.

This has led — in turn to the fact that many men would like a women 15 or 20 years younger than them because they will adore him rather than criticize him.
Men now need 50 years of their own feminist revolution so that they can learn how to be whole. But it’s complex and will take a long time coming.

CF: This is a kind of subject that you cannot ever finish to develop… How did you decide your book was finished?

IL: In a sense my book was not finished in that what I really wanted was a solution. What I did not want was more and more understanding and explanation of the problem. There are a lot of solutions offered in the book and certainly women that are looking for men that interest them need to ‘Do Something Different’ in that we can’t sit around like Cinderella hoping that one day a man will show up. He won’t. Pro-active action of the kinds that I write about in the book is necessary to create our own happy endings.

Isabel Losada together with the Dalai Lama

CF: Is there anything that you regret you wrote?

IL: No. And mostly I don’t regret asking people not to live in marriages that are pretending to be happy. Life is short. I read a book recently where the author had written on the inside front page, ‘Tell the Truth. Tell the Truth. Tell the Truth.’ And I envied her that. I would like to have written that. I said it, a million times, but not that clearly.

And I would also like to have written — ‘You only need to find ONE.’ More clearly… I did say that we need to be happy first so that we have the best of ourselves to offer. But I think most women know that and are no longer looking for a man to ‘make them happy’ just to share their bed with… (Smile, ndr)

CF: How is going on the ten places project? Did you receive any good suggestion coming about Italy?

Not yet. The word from Italy is that you have better family networks than we do over here and live near all your old school friends and so know everyone. I’m sure that this is an exaggeration — but any sense in which community has not broken down is a good thing.

CF: Have you even thought of writing fiction?

IL: I once started. I wrote the first page — I realized that I’d need a central character and that I would like him to be male. Then I realized that he would have to be pro active and take an action. Then I laughed as I realized that I have no experience of such a man. All the men that I have met don’t act — they re-act. So I laughed and I went back to real life. Anyway for me true life is stranger and more fascinating than fiction.

CF: I liked a lot the post I read in your website some weeks ago speaking about Murakami… (I cannot find it anymore but you wrote more or less that he did something deep on you but that you still were not conscious if it was bad or good…). Are you a strong reader? Who are your favorites?

IL: Ah yes — the Japanese writer Murakami. He made me want to go and have sex with him immediately. He is so sensuous. But I think in real life he would drive me crazy as all his characters are lost and usually pining over lost loves.
I go in phases as I think we all do. Sometimes I read all the time and sometimes I don’t read at all. I read a lot of spiritual writing — it’s part of my interest in happiness. My favourite is usually whoever I am reading at the time. I just started reading a book by Jack Kornfield called ‘A Path With Heart’ and then left it at a friend’s house. You know how annoying that is!

CF: Something I really like about you is the personal involvement in changing what is not going well, your efforts to do something instead of simply looking or complaining… This is something you always suggest to your readers also. So, what is your suggestion of the day? What are you involved in at this moment?

IL: My suggestion of the day? Gosh. Only one?! Impossible for me.

Well as I said earlier. Don’t waste energy being angry. Find a way to forgive people if they have wronged you in anyway. Do whatever work it takes.
Tell the people that you love that you love them — often. They may die (they will do!) or you may (you will do too!)
Realise how short life is… don’t watch TV!
Learn how to be still, in silence, and enjoy the company you keep.

Isabel LosadaMe? Well — I’m still active on be’alf of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet — It is a just cause and impossible to walk away from. I am proud to have been one of those arrested when the Olympic flame came through London for trying to put out the flame (null and void as a symbol of harmony when coming from China) with a children’s water shooter. I shared the police van with a Tibetan monk…
But it doesn’t matter what you are involved with — bringing teenagers out of drug addiction in your own neighborhood or saving the rainforests… the point is to switch off the TV and so something. Very soon we will all be too old. But serve with joy.
And of course I am writing my next book….

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