Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reflections: 6 months of Changing Courses

Arriving at the Rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar (UK)---
What I have learned so far.

In the marina of Sibari, Italy: Never, never ever judge someone by the way they look.
Post 4/27/10. When I first joined the boat, two hippie-ish looking people, Jane and Neal, a couple from England lived on a brightly colored, converted old wooden fishing boat. They had rescued animals from their travels, leaving them with 4 dogs and a male cat named Doris. I thought they looked interesting and I got to know them a little. They were the first to walk by me sobbing after the news about my father’s death. As virtual strangers, they showed immediate compassion and that theme ran through them. They respected ALL life, even the tiny dying newborn puppy they had found by a Greek trash can and came from an attitude of helpfulness. Looking at them, you would have never thought that she was an internationally acclaimed children’s artist and author, and he was a recorded musician.

In the little Island of Trazonia, Greece in the Ionian Sea: Seek contentment, not happiness.
Post 5/13/10. Rhinehart, a well traveled old man who “picked Trazonia as a good place to die” was someone I found rapport with. A sailor, a German and retired electrical engineer. We talked about humanity and he was interesting explaining to me that his hobby was anthropology. He told me that a Sikh of India had once told him that seeking happiness was foolish, because happiness was something that no one could define. What we need to strive for is Contentment in our lives and with our lives.

In Crete, Greece: Look closely at a Man’s ego.
Post 6/13/10. After chatting a while, Georgas, a gold shop owner in Crete with a huge ego, became very interested in meeting me “later for dinner.” In between his wife (!!) coming in and out of the shop he said, “I want a divorce, my wife is fat.” As I soon left, I smiled as I passed him and patted his huge belly and said, “You are a hypocrite, you are even larger”. Ego. I know it sounds logical but for me, it hit me. A man lacking humility is an insurmountable red flag. Nip it at the bud, baby.

In Mykonos, Greece: Create Beauty for beauties’ sake and share it openly. (Affordably)
Post 6/26/10. An artist in Mykonos, Greece, as good as Andy Warhol, chooses to be with family and friends during Christmas season and not make money. She also chooses to price her things very affordably. “I want people to be able to own art. To take them home and enjoy.”

In the City of Methoni, Peloponnese, Greece: Be free inside yourself.
Post 7/17/10. A shopkeeper Zoe, who with her daughter and husband embraced me and their shop became my retreat during a difficult time on the boat. As the artist who created most everything in her shop, Zoe was working herself to death. She longed to leave it all and go away, knowing the reality of that was unrealistic. Yet she danced. She was free within her prison. We shared some Ouzo as her and her daughter restocked the shelves and they danced about the shop to the Greek music they were playing loudly.

In Espalmador, Spain’s Island: Live confidently in your body.
Post 9/16/10. Vick and Jo, an older couple enjoyed life naked. As most of the island, it was hardly noted. I had swum over to ask about the inflatable kayak I saw on their deck (as I am looking to buy one). Without another word, they insisted I try it out. Later, the naked couple paddled over to tell me something. There was no discomfort about their older bodies. They were simply living. “Don’t worry. We don’t do complicated,” Vick had said to me as I was trying to explain my situation. Confidently naked and uncomplicated living. I like that.

In the tiny beachfront hippie commune of “San Pedro Naturale”, Spain: Life CAN be lived simply.
Post 9/21/10. It was a simple life living in tents and shacks. Everyone got along. Simple strict rules. They had everything they NEEDED. How much do I have that I need and how much do I have that I simply WANT? I am disproportional in comparison.

It’s been 6 months. Hard to believe, yet my head swims as I recall everything I have seen and done. I was on the phone with one of my girl friends last week. She asked me if I was having fun. My immediate reaction caught me by surprise. I didn’t know how to answer. “AM I having fun?” I asked myself. I have had some fun times. I am where I think I should be right now in my life. I love this sailing lifestyle. But I am not “having fun” or by any means “having a blast” as some emails to me are assuming. But I mulled over these thoughts for a few days and realized: THIS is my life right now. It’s not a vacation. It is day to day being. So, if someone asked me in my past “Are you having fun?” the answer would be the same. I have fun times but it is a balance of good and bad, fun and not so fun, happy and sad.

I am worried sick about my 15 year old dog Turbo and that has consumed a lot of thoughts. I am mourning the parting of a friend. I am still processing the deaths of my Father and Aunt during this trip. I am learning more patience and refrain by living with children. I am starting to think about what to do career wise, when I return.

I can only hope that I try hard to not judge, seek contentment, look about for the smallest creatures because all life is precious, look first at a man’s ego, feel at peace with my body, be uncomplicated, create for the sense of giving, remember how simply you can live, and dance. Dance about to very loud music.


Berdene said...

Oh Edee I so agree that contentment comes from within - not other people, $$, or things. Contentment is being alone with yourself and being ok with that -- it's all about the inner you, cuz you are all you have at times to rely on - loving yourself no mater where in life you are!

Jim said...

Wonderful writing. Thank you.