Fjaka (pronounced somewhat like fyah-kah) originates from the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. It’s rather hard to define and in my experience emulate Fjaka elsewhere other than in the region of Dalmatia. But mastering the art of Dalmatian Fjaka, a feeling of profound relaxation and mental aspiration for nothing is definitely worth exploring… Plus, it’s good for you, truly!
“Nemoj ni više misliti. Opusti se, pa nek’ ti uhvati Fjaka.”
The last summer I spent on the Dalmatian coast was just before Covid-19 came into existence. I had just weaned my toddler, and was a little sleep deprived. My childhood friend welcomed me back and with the slightest observation he gently remarked “Nemoj ni više misliti. Opusti se, pa nek’ ti uhvati Fjaka.” “No more thinking. Let go, and let Fjaka take over you.” Fjaka runs through my veins and so I knew that by just being there I was soon going to be in that sublime state of Dalmatian Fjaka. Dalmatian Fjaka being a natural shift in state of mind that happens without any real conscious effort.
For this post, three people from the Dalmatian coast expressed what Fjaka is to them and the benefits of it. You will find that it encompasses a quietening of the voice of the ego, a state of being rather than doing, and a blissful feeling that is all around you and within you. It is not the hedonistic pursuit of seeking pleasure, but rather an emptying of oneself and immersion in the present moment. It is a state fuelled by the hot summer rays, the smell of the sea, the saltiness in the air and the collective vibe.
CARMEN “…A FULLNESS OF SOUL, BROUGHT BY EMPTINESS OF MIND…”
Carmen – “Fjaka is mental nothingness. The state of just being. The beauty of letting go. No thoughts, no longing, no pressure. A dream like state where the only thing your mind registers is the sound of the sea in front of you, the smell of it, the taste of its salt on your lips and the warmth of the sun on your face.
Fjaka is a feeling of happy laziness, complete contentment, but for no particular reason. A fullness of soul, brought by emptiness of mind. But it’s not something you create or force or try to capture. It just is. It washes over you, and you often don’t even realise you’ve even experienced it until it ends; when that first thought pierces its way back into your mind.
I believe Fjaka is one of the best things for you. That brief mental respite from our busy lives. A chance to clean the slate and recharge, if only for a moment. A chance to know yourself deeply, without the thoughts upon which you build your external identity. If you don’t allow yourself to accept moments of Fjaka, of nothingness, then I don’t think you can truly know yourself – your soul within.”
DANIELA “…FJAKA IS IN THE AIR!!!”
Daniela – “Here in Dalmatia we’re born with Fjaka. Fjaka is necessary especially during the summer months. After lunch it is vital to rest in order to recharge, and that rest we also refer to as Fjaka, or on the island of Koločep (part of Elaphiti islands, situated just northwest of Dubrovnik) they call it Pižolet.
Fjaka is part of our culture, especially for the elderly. Now days if you are younger and work from 8am-4pm it is harder to take the ‘Fjaka’ nap, but it is always an option, at least during the weekends. Although, regardless of whether or not you take the nap, Fjaka is in the air!!!”
FRANCES “…THE ART OF DOING NOTHING IN A WAY THAT BRINGS YOU A SENSE OF PEACE.”
Frances – “Fjaka to me is all about the art of doing nothing in a way that brings you a sense of peace. It is a state of mind. It is all about giving yourself permission to rest, permission to breathe, permission to do nothing but JUST BE. It is a mindset that frees you from thinking you have to be busy to be productive. Instead you can lose yourself in the moment and just be happy with exactly what you have right now in life.
Fjaka is almost like a Dalmatian/Croatian way of meditating or being mindful – true spiritual bliss. But even still, words can never accurately describe this sublime state of mind, that consumes you during Fjaka when in Croatia.”
FJAKA IS A GIFT FROM UP ABOVE AVAILABLE TO ALL
The above responses may bring you closer to understanding just what Fjaka is. Although ideally you have to experience Fjaka on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia to entirely understand it, otherwise it’s quite elusive. But just know that once there, anyone can get into the zone and experience Dalmatian Fjaka. Why? Because Fjaka is a gift from up above available to all!
Before you go, check out My Grandma is Like the Sea children’s picture book, here. A story featuring illustrations with a heavy influence from the beautiful Dalmatian Coast.