Day 2 of life in Greece/Paradise. Despite everything that is going on here with the economy, I haven't really observed any of the ill effects. That could also be because I am in the middle of nowhere where even internet is a novel phenomenon. Yet Greece has a different feel to it than any other country I have ever visited...
It is this calming atmosphere that also has a relaxing effect on the people. When we walk down the street, the old men are in deep presence. They stare at the ocean with a mixture of acceptance and complete bliss. Between their fingers they toy with a beaded bracelet, a sign of their ongoing contemplation. Like China, life here carries a certain simplicity. A simplicity that even I could get accustomed to and not feel uncomfortable. People work hard here when the time demands, but they don't neglect enjoying themselves either. One will often see a woman sweeping her household or scrubbing her rugs vigorously during the day, but once the sun sets she is out with her toddler and husband sitting seaside at a restaurant sipping homemade wine. It is this perfect balance of work and pleasure, of the ability to have or neglect a schedule which puts the people here (and myself) in such a carefree state of ease. It is like they have conquered yin and yang or the mindful balance of opposites which work dynamically with one another. Just like they utilize rest, they also don't dismiss work.
Most traditional Greeks live on or near the same property for their entire lives (outside the city in villages). The house, along with the occasional farmland, is usually passed down through generations with meticulous care. Since these houses have been owned for so long, Greeks rarely have any expenses other than their taxes on gasoline and food (most for-went electricity until recently). This makes for a much less stressful life than in America where capitalist ideals push for us to constantly buy more materialistic crap and invest and invest so we can continue to make more money. [Unfortunately because of their current situation and debt this situation is going to change dramatically. It is extremely sad because I know that this will really alter a culture that I and the people here have grown so accustomed to]
This small village I am staying in has offered me an escape from my busy life. I have returned to the "wild" of living freely, without a concrete schedule and constant checklists that must be fulfilled. Here I can sleep when I want, eat when I want, and hike and swim to my heart's desire. It is quiet and away from the world, offerring me a space to work on my presentness more. With literally nothing nagging on me to get done, I have 24 hours to choose activities that I love.
So I think my message for today is that we should all have a place like this. We all deserve a break from what we live in to get to take a step back and reflect. To take a breath and assess or just to breathe in a different place. It doesn't have to be 7,000 miles away from home, but I think there is a place for everyone whether it be that house nestled in the woods, or the cottage on the lake or even a sleeping bag in the mountains. We need to find solitude to clear our heads and maybe even have the opportunity to not think. Our paradise doesn't even have to be a place of reflection or escape, but a place to just be. A place to just breathe in the air and bathe under the sky smiling. Maybe we don't always have two weeks, but we need a break. That's okay too. I get those days back at home. I grab my bike and go ten miles to a forest preserve and then walk around alone. Sometimes paradise is best shared with others, sometimes we need to be alone for fresh air.
Either way, don't forget we only get one roller coaster ride so don't forget to enjoy the fun parts of it. It is 9:30 pm and I am going to indulge in one of the freshest dinners I get all year round so I am afraid I have to go! But, another post will come shortly. And that Diabetes series I mentioned I am writing will also be coming soon as well. Have a wonderful summer day everyone!