"I am on a journey... With my work, my explorations, and a few sad stories. I travel with a suitcase full of outrageous blessings. I am on a quest for truth, beauty, and quiet joy. I am an artist, a writer, an explorer."

Saturday, 7 April 2018

My Wonderland

Photograph by Alice Karayianni

I am currently relaxing on the chaise-longue by the pool with my book in hand, but I cannot focus on my book because the view in front of me captivates me, as it always does. The essence of all this nature at my feet is too overwhelming to express, yet I have this need to put it down in words. Perhaps, if I do so, I’ll have a better understanding of why I feel this way when I’m here and I’ll be able to focus on my book, once again. So here goes an attempt to convey these feelings… 

When I am in Drousha, a small village right at the outskirts of the Akamas peninsula in Paphos (Cyprus), I feel as if time stops. It kind of feels like those nostalgic, slow piano tunes you get in movies when the characters are remembering happy moments from the past. Our holiday house is situated upon a hill – 650m above sea level – and has an amazing view of the sea and villages in the distance. At night, this view transforms into a series of bright, flickering dots in the distance, which always somehow mesmerises me. I think it is this contrast of the absolute stillness one gets up here in comparison with the ‘life’ one can imagine down there, when looking from afar. It is always a bit cooler here - hence the name of the village which is said to come from the greek word ‘drosia’ which means ‘cool and fresh’ - because it is situated quite high up. We are thus benefited with the fact that we have a better climate in the summer (Cyprus can get VERY hot) while simultaneously being an 8-minute drive away from the wonderful beaches of Latchi. In the winter, the house is usually immersed within some low-lying cloud so one cannot but guess what lies beyond the pool… Needless to say that the wood we stock up for the fireplace for the duration of our stay only lasts a day. So, as you can see, we’ve got both the mountains and the sea here, what more could one ask for?

As I was saying, everything slows down when I’m here, and I cannot help but enjoy every moment away from the chaos of the city. It is as if I become one with nature, perhaps because where we are, I can hardly hear any external sounds apart from those of birds singing, insects buzzing away and the occasional wind blowing on the trees; I love the rattling sound of leaves. Quoting Eckhart Tolle, ‘we need nature to show us the way home, the way out of the prison of our own minds’ and, in such a setting, one can’t help but transform along with their surroundings. In Drousha it is always the present moment, the here and now. No past, no future. Well, most of the time, but it's so much easier to live in the moment, to just be happy. There is this stillness in nature which fills you up, it calms you down. Negative thoughts are carried away by the occasional breeze, you cannot help but be optimistic. There is something magical in the atmosphere and it's definitely contagious. We are never alone up here. My memories of Drousha are filled with blissful moments of family and friends; old ones and new ones. There is always good company around; people who have grown to share our love for our little Wonderland and the surrounding areas. 

It's amazing what a place can do to you...

Monday, 1 January 2018

2018

Photograph by Alice Karayiannis

I found myself again one morning when I opened the window and smelled the fresh daisies growing in my backyard. I ran outside and danced under the sunshine and nothing had felt that warm in a long time. The rays on my skin and the grass beneath my feet; nothing had been that normal in so long. I found myself in the novels I read and in the country music I played while riding shotgun. I found myself while walking along the beach and witnessing the sun settling down. It was beautiful and when the sun rose the next day, I found myself while trying to tie my curtains up. I made myself some hot tea and I thought to myself, "I'm going to be alright." Because I found myself while pacing down the open roads at midnight. And we laughed under the stars and I remembered that the world is much bigger than I am and there is so much more out there than what we have. I found myself while tracing back my footprints along the sand and listening to the waters rush along the creeks. I found the warmth of living and breathing after all the sorrow. I found the person I was before I realised that bruises weren't just physical, they were emotional too. But I found that person again. I found the person who still believes that life is good.
 ~ Ming D. Li

For 2018, I hope that I keep finding myself in everything I do; I hope that I keep finding what nourishes my soul, what makes me feel alive. Because there are a thousand ways to fill my soul when I am at peace, when I am in the moment. I hope that I'll manage to find balance and stillness amidst the chaos of everyday life so that I'll remember how to be, how to see and, most importantly, how to breathe. Wherever I am, whatever I do, to just let go and be there. 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017

Photograph by Alice Karayiannis

One day it just clicks. You realise what’s important and what isn’t. You learn to care less about what other people think of you and more about what you think of yourself. You realise how far you’ve come and you remember when you thought things were such a mess that they’d never recover. And then you smile. You smile because you are truly proud of yourself and the person you’ve fought to become.

As yet another year comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on the lessons I’ve been learning over the last few years; such a never ending process… I've learned that patience and hard work are rewarded, one way or another, sooner or later. Nothing you give your best to goes in vain. I've learned that things don’t usually turn out the way you planned, or the way you thought they should. After all, you were never in control and you never will be, so you just need to let go and accept what is. The more you try to be in control the more you will lose. I’ve learned that not everything that goes wrong can be fixed or get put back together the way it was before. Because no matter how much you try to put things back together, some things are just meant to stay broken. Then again, I've learned that if something is meant to be fixed, the stength and courage to put it back together will come to you no matter what. I’ve learned that sometimes your happiness will depend on letting go of things that no longer serve you. And it will hurt, but it’s been quite heavy and you need to feel light again. I've also learned that kindness goes a long way; so remember to be kind whenever you can, even when you don't feel like it. I’ve learned that the essential element of wellbeing is peace of mind. And I’ve learned that it's okay to let go of whatever does not give me peace of mind. Because accepting what is is not always easy to achieve and sometimes you need another way out. I’ve learned that people come and go, so invest in people who invest in you. Invest in the people who have always been there and loved you even when you weren't very lovable; people who want to see you happy. Those are the genuine people in your life. Most importantly, I’ve learned that things are real only when you are. So keep it real with the people you invest in, vulnerability is your greatest strength and it simultaneously keeps you grounded. Tear down those walls and just be; be your Self. 

We never cease to learn and our experiences continuously shape who we are. But this process of self-growth is so much more endurable when you’re surrounded by people who love you. People who replenish you and bring you peace. People who care about you and seek to help you grow. There are so many things to be grateful for in every single day and this is just one of them. A simple thank you is never enough, but just know that I feel so blessed to have you!

P.S. A special thank you to Ruby, my dog, for her infinite love, the way she greets me when I come home and the way she looks at me no matter how she's feeling, no matter what is going on in her world, no matter what. If only she could speak...

Thursday, 24 August 2017

I Carry Your Heart With Me

Photograph by Alice Karayiannis

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

~ E.E. Cummings

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Τι είν' αυτό

Photo by Alice Karayiannis

Τι είν’ αυτό που το λένε αγάπη
τι είν’ αυτό, τι είν’αυτό
που κρυφά τις καρδιές οδηγεί
κι όποιος το `νιωσε το νοσταλγεί

Τι είν’ αυτό που το λένε αγάπη
τι είν’ αυτό, τι είν’αυτό
γέλιο, δάκρυ, λιακάδα, βροχή
της ζωής μας και τέλος κι αρχή

(Listen here)