The Training of Joy

Profil 2

A conformist actor, who wants a traditional family, a drunkard and misogynist flight instructor, and a wise air traffic controller are the three men in Sandra’s life. She loves them all in different ways.

When the actor, her husband, wants to divorce, Sandra feels devastated and tries to convince him to stay married. However, he is jealous of the flight instructor and Sandra’s new passion, the flying. At the same time, he is also in love with a young actress.

The flight instructor, a charming, intelligent, and adventurous man proves to be a drunkard and an incurable misogynist.

Three dramatic deaths and a painful divorce, leaves Sandra in confusion, unable to cope with the events that happen too fast in her life.

A third man appears, an air traffic controller from Zürich, who catches Sandra’s attention telling her that she lacks the training of the mental states of well-being and a new love story begins. While she attempts to attune to her entire existence, to understand her attachments and possessiveness, and to start training her joyfulness, she slowly realizes that she is just a mirror, changing every time she is in a relationship with a man, to please her partner. First, she was an actress, then, she changes her path and tries to become an airline pilot. However, when the air traffic controller enters her life, she follows his calling, a calling that seems to come from beyond the world.

Many dramatic moments, a few touching love scenes, and a journey into a parallel world will keep the reader in a roller coaster of emotions, being able to dive into Sandra’s inner world and experience the intimacy of a passionate woman who knows how to love. At the same time, the reader will witness the mental process of a person whose mind conflicts with her feelings.



A Place in Kitami

“Everything you see, everything you think about, is it an immediate, tangible reality? Tell me, if you do not turn around to 180 degrees, does the world behind you exist?”

Little buddhist

Bardo Thödol – The Tibetan Book of the Dead

bardo 3
Tibet has captured the imagination of many people from all walks of life. It’s the land of wisdom, of snow, of beautiful monasteries where men and women explored and perfected what being human was all about. In Tibet lies one of the most outstanding cultures in Asia but this country remained closed for foreigners for centuries due to both physical and political barriers.
Buddhism, the true religion of peace, entered Tibet in the 7th century and the Tibetans have dedicated themselves to its peaceful non-violent teachings and created a society based on the realization that true everlasting happiness has nothing to do with materialism. The most respected individuals are the enlightened, not the wealthy.
In 1959, the Dalai Lama, along with several tens of thousands of monks, fled Lhasa to escape the Chinese who took over the Tibetan territory under the pretext that it belonged to them. Not a single word from the Dalai Lama or the other monks calls for preaching. On the contrary, whenever the Dalai Lama is asked how a person can become a Buddhist, he invariably has the same answers. It is not at all necessary, each one must follow his own religion which will direct him to the same discoveries.
Along with the Dalai Lama and the monks who were forced into exile, a lot of wisdom and a magical culture was brought into the world. One of the most fascinated books that came from Tibet is “Bardo Thödol”, which in the Tibetan language means “Liberation in the Intermediate State Through Hearing” also called “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”. This book is a funerary text read to ease the consciousness of a recently deceased person through death and assist it into a favorable rebirth.
A central principle of belief of all schools of Buddhism is that attachment to and craving for worldly things brings suffering and unease, which influence actions whose accumulated effects, or karma, bind individuals to the process of death and rebirth. Those who have attained enlightenment are thereby released from this process, attaining liberation. Those who remain unenlightened are drawn by karma, whether good or bad, into a new life in one of six modes of existence: as a sufferer in hell, enduring horrible torture, as a wandering ghost, driven by insatiable craving, as an animal, ruled by instinct, as a demigod, lustful for power, as a human being, balanced in instinct and reason or as a god, deluded by their long lives into believing they are immortal.
The concept of bardos, the intermediate or transitional states, marks an individual’s life from birth to death and rebirth. The period between death and rebirth lasts 49 days and involves three bardos. The first is the moment of death itself. The consciousness of the newly deceased becomes aware of and accepts the fact that it has recently died, and it reflects upon its past life. In the second bardo, it encounters frightening apparitions. Without an understanding that these apparitions are unreal, the consciousness becomes confused and, depending upon its karma, may be drawn into a rebirth that impedes its liberation. The third bardo is the transition into a new body.
During the bardo between life and death, the consciousness of the deceased can still understand words and prayers spoken on its behalf, which can help it to navigate through its confusion and be reborn into a new existence that offers a greater chance of attaining enlightenment. Reciting of “Bardo Thödol”, usually performed by a Lama, a religious teacher, begins shortly before death if possible and continues throughout the 49-day period leading to rebirth.
I came across this book after three deaths occurred during a very short period of time. My grandmother, my mother-in-law and also my first flight instructor died. And above all my divorce happened at the same time. I might say it was a sad time. Because I was flying and I had friends in aviation I had the chance to meet an air traffic controller of Tibetan origin, Tenam. I told him about my readings from “Bardo Thödol” and went to visit him. He told me that maybe these three persons who died experienced the real bardos, between death and a new rebirth but I was the one experiencing a bardo happening in life, between sadness and joyfulness.
“Tenam: Buddhism focuses on the mind, speaking about how one can take possession of his mind and master it. Once you can control your mind you will be able to control your body as well. To know if you’re ready to die, do an exercise. Switch off your phone, disconnect your computer and go somewhere in solitude, like now, for example. If you are haunted by what you left behind, or the fear that someone won’t be able to find you, then you have unfinished business and you are not ready to die. Sometimes, you will hear people looking for you, telepathically, on frequencies that use waves other than the telephone. If you feel you’re getting restless and you have the urge to turn on your phone and talk to that person, then I tell you the story is not finished. If you hear, but you don’t want to act, it means that from your point of view it is sorted out, but from the point of view of the other person, it’s not. This way, I can also explain the wrath or desires following the dead in the intermediary state. Now, tell me, should one get ready for departure or not? The changing or “Bardo” we pass through while we are alive, must be treated in the same manner. When you move to another city when you divorce, when you change your job or hobby, if you don’t solve all your problems beforehand, you will shift between the past and the future and it is a huge waste of energy. If you are attached to any place in the past, you can move as far as the leash allows. This happens if you have a parent or, in case of divorce, a child, or a dog. Your decisions are not entirely real, they depend on a reference point in the past. The departure, the death, the separation must be prepared in light of these factors. This is the meaning of living in the present, of lack of attachments, to be able to move easily, to be flexible and fluid.”
Sandra Sanada

A Place in Kitami

A few years ago, I visited Kitami, a beautiful city on Hokkaido Island, Japan. While I was eating a delicious traditional cake on the terrace of a coffee shop, near a Buddhist monastery, two monks passed, and my thoughts stopped for a few moments, admiring their magical walk.
After two years, wasting my time in my father’s yard one evening, drinking a glass of wine on his terrace, I noticed that the license numbers of the two cars parked outside his house resembled geographical coordinates. Out of sheer curiosity, I checked the spot where those two coordinates met on the map. I was astounded to see that they intersected in Kitami, Hokkaido, Japan, very close to the place I had seen those two monks, a few years ago. Not long after, this story came to my mind, and it seemed that it had written itself.
”A Place in Kitami” is a story about a Japanese Buddhist monk who was born together with a demon that he keeps locked in an isolated place at the monastery he runs. He asks his disciple, Yokota, to bring him the demon in the exact moment of his death. Will Yokota be worthy of his mission?



Rays of Heavens and Hells

Under the title “Rays of Heavens and Hells”, I published two of my short stories that I have already released as eBooks.

The first one, “A Place in Kitami”, is a story about a Japanese Buddhist monk who was born together with a demon that he keeps locked in an isolated place at the monastery he runs. He asks his disciple, Yokota, to bring him the demon in the exact moment of his death. Will Yokota be worthy of his mission?

The second one, “Aviatrices”, is a story inspired by the legendary “White Squadron”, a unit formed exclusively of female pilots, which became famous after the aviatrices saved over ten thousand soldiers during WWII picking them up from the battlefield with their white single-engine airplanes. The plot you are about to read is made up to serve the purpose of a short story. However, the characters resemble the real pilots, and you will find out a bit of the true history of each of them.



The Training of Joy


We are passing through a tunnel of mirrors, we mirror every person or life situation, everything is just a projection of ourselves and we must take it as such. Just as we cannot entirely see ourselves physically without a mirror, we can only perceive our true identity as it is reflected by the people around us.

This identity, however, is built by others and does not belong to us, it’s just a collage of all life events and encounters with other people. I believe there comes a time in one’s life when we have to discard everything that does not belong to us and consciously create our own identity. The mechanical repetition of what we have seen or heard is insufficient. We are here to receive an “inheritance” to work with and then change it into a valuable new thing. Only then we can discover our true identity, give the world something new and return our gratitude to those who have invested in us.

Sandra is searching for her flight instructor in a parallel world helped by a Tibetan and a few Buddhist principles. Will she find him dead or alive?




An extraordinary story of a few women pilots who saved 10.000 lives by flying wounded soldiers back from the front line during WWII.

In 1938, the political atmosphere in Europe was increasingly tense – the armies of the Third Reich were marching, USSR threats, simultaneous and combined with those of Germany’s, resulted in frequent incidents caused by Soviet Russia at the border, pushing the Romanian Army to take important measures. Among other things, at the military maneuvers, which took place in the fall of that year, in Galați, five aviatrices, Mariana Drăgescu, Virginia Duțescu, Nadia Russo, Marina Știrbei and Irina Burnaia, had been invited to participate, for the first time, to be put to test and see how they would manage under war. It was about simulating dogfights, liaison missions against the clock, night flights – a sort of playing in the air, some would say, but it was one as serious as possible. And the fact that these women managed admirably in the two weeks of exercises determined the headquarters to declare them fit for mobilization.


”When I first heard about the White Squadron’s story, I was thrilled and very proud to be Romanian and a woman pilot.

A very well-known film director, Dan Pița, told me about this story. One of the female pilots that joined the White Squadron rescued his father during the war. He asked me to find out which one was flying the plane that brought back home his father and handed me a piece of very old and yellowed paper on which it was written the date, hour and place from where his father was picked up. He said to me: “You write, fly and you’re also a woman. Why don’t you write something about this story?”
So, my quest began… I found out that his father was rescued by Mariana Drăgescu, the best of them all, the one who spent hundreds of hours flying above the front lines and carrying wounded, blood or personnel during the entire war, being drafted from the first day until the last, fighting on both fronts, the Eastern and the Western Front. She transported over 1, 500 wounded soldiers.

7 September 1912 – 24 March 2013
Mariana 1
I started to research the White Squadron, learning about the pilots and about the war and I discovered a fascinated story about courage, love, friendship, compassion and all the bright side of humanity wrapped into the most terrifying moment of history WWII. I found out about the strength of several women who left their comfort to help others.
I found out that a life spent and dedicated to a higher purpose is much more rewarding than an ordinary and a safe one. As Smaranda Brăescu said: “My life means nothing if I’m keeping it for myself. I dedicate my life to my country and I want to live it in glory. I will only come back as a winner.”

21 May 1897 – 2 February 1948
Romania’s first woman skydiver. In 1932, in Sacramento, USA, she was declared World’s No. 1 athlete after setting the World Record of jumping from high altitude: 7233 meters.
Her record has carried on for 20 years before being outclassed by another Romanian.
She was also the first woman pilot to cross the Mediterranean Sea in a single-seat airplane from Rome to Tripoli in 6 hours and 10 minutes.
A Romanian Paratroopers Unit’s battle flag is presently bearing her name.
I wrote the story based on the real facts, the majority of the events are real, and the characters have their actual names.
For the benefit of both history and writing, I managed to find ways to present their story in such a manner that serves aviation, reality and writing needs.
I believe that this story will bring hope to people and encourage humans to pursue their dreams and overcome limits. Especially for women, the story is truly motivational.
The story is also about outstanding men that fought on the front lines. It is about the well-known Constantin Cantacuzino, one of Romania’s leading World War II fighter aces, a legend that impressed the world.

11 November 1905 – 26 May 1958

More than 70 years have passed since WWII ended and I feel that even though it was an event that should never happen again, some wounds healed and I could present the two sides of the front in a more balanced way. Reading books written by pilots, books that were initially journals, I found out that hate manifested itself often between Germans, Romanians, and Russians but on the other hand, love, friendship, and understanding was also present more often than we might think and people tended to help and rescue others in suffering even though they were officially enemies.
I am fascinated by true stories. Even though when a real person appears into a book or a film, that person becomes an artistic character, the fact that I know that that person existed makes me find the story more enticing. In “Aviatrices” all the characters are based on real persons and it would be a pity not to make their story known to the world. The story of the “Aviatrices”, although born in a small country in Eastern Europe, belongs to humanity and nowadays, when all of us think about globalization, we have to share stories from all over the planet so everybody can benefit of every nation’s experience and knowledge.”