Autumn choices

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Autumn, for me, is about starting afresh. It follows the end of the summer period where I have had time to  relax, to reflect, to listen to my inner self and to  have let the dust settle in.  It is about pressing the “start” button again without leaving things to chance to just happen. It is about being bold, alert, self-aware and mindful to turn my summer discussions,  reflections and personal searches into specific actions that will nourish my mind, body and soul.

Autumn, for me, is about making choices.  Conscious choices to carefully select the building blocks of my life for the coming months – until the next summer comes and I give myself a break again to recharge my batteries. Choices about what to keep, what to grow further, what to add, what to eliminate and consciously chop away.

I look at my list of choices and I am ready to put all of myself to them. Oh! I can’t wait to:

  • Attend Philosophy classes in the Polytechnic university of Athens and add more philosphy books to my reading
  • Continue to attend the English-speaking Book Club
  • Start bridge lessons
  • Swim in the sea as far as I can go in the winter
  • Take daily walks
  • Continue attending greek folklore dance lessons together with my mother
  • Grow myself and others through Parallaxis
  • Spend quality time with selective friends and family – combining cultural activities as much as possible
  • Help my mother (and myself ) to fill the gap that my grandmother’s death brought
  • Keep on loving the cats that surround my life 😉
  • Attempt to plant and grow a mango tree in the garden

 

A hard, hard goodbye

For those of you that know my life story, you know the important role that my maternal grandmother played in it, since I was 2 years old.  I do not need to describe her here because I feel that it is one of those rare circumstances that words are too little to capture the totality of a person, a relationship and the feelings involved.  My grandmother – Ioanna Kouna was her name- enriched my life for more than half a century, always offering me a net of security, strength and a smile on my face.

 

As she (and I) were growing older, she tried all her best to fulfill our pact to reach 1,000 years of age; she finally made it to 96,3 and died today.

For me, to be around a person like her has made my life worth living. And just a few hours before her final journey, I had the chance to tell her my last ” I love you” and to hear her tell me with her fading voice:” You know I love you too”

 

 

 

Looking for clues…

At first I thought that someone had thrown a decorative pom pon in between the rose bushes. But as I kept walking up in the remote mountains of my village in the Peloponnese, I saw more and more of these pom pons growing on some of the  wild rose branches. Oh! These “live” pom pons were perfectly round  and fluffy with a light green colour in their center and a reddish orange colour on their outer part. IMG_1476

They were soft and firm at the same time; they were not equal in size: the biggest had the size of a golf ball and the smallest the size of a komboloi (rosary) bead. But no matter their size, they were light enough (in weight) not to be a burden on the delicate rose branches. I also found that they were not all growing in the same part of the branches: some grew at the very top of the branch – where you would expect to see a flower, others in the middle – where  the leaves grew left and right and some at the lower part of the branch. Oh! They were so special and beautiful! I couldn’t stop looking out for them!

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I got very excited…  Had I just discovered an unknown plant species? “How unusual” I told my mother – who was walking along with me – pointing at each pom pon I saw around me. “I have never seen anything like this, in Greece or abroad”.  She looked at me as if I came from Mars and said bluntly: “I do not understand what’s the big deal! These bushes exist as long as I can remember myself. And their pom pons come out always at this time of the year! Eventually they will make a white rose flower with very few pedals – nothing special really”.

I cut a few of them giving away some of my blood to their thorns!  I wanted to show them to others in the village and get their feedback. To my surprise, nobody seemed to bother! So, I did feel like someone from another planet! I felt like I was showing them stones from their streets that are so abundant and have no value whatsoever! I came back to Athens, carrying with me the few branches I had cut to put in my vase, determined to find out more about this plant. I  started searching the Internet, using the name of the plant I was told in the village, but I had no luck!

And so I wonder: am I the only one in this planet to have seen these pom pon rose plants for the first time?

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A bold move, he made

Normally, the idea of going to the doctor gives me a feeling of nausea. But not with this one whom , if possible, I could have visited every day!  For many years, his life, as a general pathologist, has been dedicated to one mission: to cure the bodies of his patients. He did it with humility, wisdom, selflessness and acute perspicaciousness. He was in high demand and has been working around the clock to catch up with time that was running out. And although he had a hectic schedule, he was always calm and in inner peace.; an example for the rest of us that often run in agony like chickens with our heads cut off. He took all the time that was needed for each and every patient to review not only their body parts,  but also their soul. For him, things couldn’t work if body and soul,  didn’t walk hand in hand! How glad I am that he showed me this way and helped me to walk it!

But, I am also sad, that now (in his early 60s), he took the decision to retreat to mount Athos, a center of monasticism in Greece.  He wants to dedicate time to his own soul and surely to focus on curing the souls of others more profoundly. I am sad for me, because I will miss him as a doctor and as a human being that gave guidance to my life. On the other hand, I am happy for him for having the courage to pursue his inner calling, leaving behind a comfortable life, money, status, etc.  A “bold step” many would say, but greatness comes from being fearless – and only the enlightened few really do it…

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My second year in the 50’s

I am celebrating 52 years of life today! And more than any other year, I  feel the significance of having a healthy  body and mind that allow me to dive in all I choose to do! What a wonderful feeling that is! To be free to be me. To have a life that is  mine to decide, not to have to obey to any “have to do’s”…

… And the more I focus on my internal balance and peace, the more fruits life offers me: to grow and develop myself, to give back to others (especially through Parallaxis), to share quality moments with friends and/or family  in Greece and abroad, to love and be loved, to live in a country with unique light and  immense beauty…

Oh! I am happy, my dear friends, and you can stay assured that you are a reason too that adds to this happiness!

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My little pony turned 50!

It was many years ago in Brussels that we were introduced through a common friend. Our relationship developed through the names we gave to each other: her nickname was “my little pony”;  mine was “my little simba”.

IMG_1167[1]Why “little pony?” Because, like the 80’s pony toy for girls, she brings magic to our friendship and all that she touches.  I actually believe that she was born in this world in order to spread this magic. You never see her in a bad  mood. She always, always means well; you see it in her big, sparkling eyes, before you even start talking with her. She is soft spoken and discreet in her manners. She pays attention to details. She cares for you. She doesn’t try to prove anything to anybody. She is colourful,  and although she likes to change looks often, she always keeps her girliness. She has an avid love for learning -and constantly develops new interests and hobbies with an open mind.  She grows and re-invents herself. She simply and consciously loves life and likes to savour it accompanied  by the man of her life – “our chef” and her dog Riva. She spends most of her time between Brussels, Aegina ( a greek island) and Malaga (in Spain).

Oh! My dear “little pony” you just turned 50.  You. are around, possessing the “little pony” spirit intact, to keep showing us how to gallop the fields of time sparkling magic on the way! Thank you for being!

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Under the olive tree

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Oh! My olive tree is one of a kind: it stands, like a siren, between my house and the sea to seduce me and my visitors.  Noone can avoid its temptation of sitting on the wooden chairs around  the table, under the shade of its branches, and spend a big part of the day there.

But my olive tree offers a lot more than unconditional protection against the Mediterranean sun : it is our ceaseless witness, that sees all and knows all, when discussing our private matters, problems, dilemmas, unresolved issues.  It’s our confidante that invites us naturally to reflect, share our wildest thoughts and dreams, listen to others, philosophize about life, say stories, make jokes, eat, analyze things and try to find solutions, analyze people and try to understand them, prioritize, meet new people, share intimate thoughts, laugh, make plans, drink, relax, gossip, watch people that come to spend time in the sea.

We especially like to observe, among the olive branches,  those people that come regularly to the beach.  Like our “canoe man” who is paddling along, chasing women when his wife is not around…  or families with children doing the most outrageous things  – like this father  that is seriously wearing his daughter’s plastic bucket on his head…  We invent names and stories about each one of them… And we keep building our soap operas, until we are content that our lives haven’t taken  the routes of all those people’s lives that unfold in front of our eyes…