On Cycles and the Meaning of a Voyage

Definition of pilgrimage? (part one)

Memento <3

“A disciple…can never imitate his guide’s steps. You have your own way of living your life, of dealing with problems, and of winning. Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.” Paulo Coehlo

(Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the world pilgrimage as 1- a journey of a pilgrim especially one to a shrine or a sacred place – and 2- the course of life on earth.)

Five days have passed since the official ending of the project I have been working for almost a year now. It is strange to say but it got me melancholic for all this time, for this place I call home, for the children I got to know better than I ever did before, for the beautiful people I met on the way…

Learned to travel light!

It was the longest project and my longest stay – at one place alone. I became comfortable with this lifestyle and playfulness was the word that would rule my days – as I was learning how to get to that place of encounter with the kids, as I would try my best to be better, more patient, more creative and fun. And as much as I would like to keep that fresh in my heart, I know that I have to internalize it, learn my lessons, keep my eyes wide opened and above all be grateful for this huge opportunity that I was offered.

Pay attention and learn from your fellow pilgrims!

I did not come here to visit a shrine or a sacred place – that is true- I came here in order to put my heart into something, to give my time to those that were in need, to explore their universe and to give a grip of mine. Like two travellers that meet on the path, walking in different directions. Pilgrimage for me is more than a visit, it is an actual course, it is a state of mind. It is the awareness itself, its probably also the fact that you know, way before you even started on that path, that things are not forever, that everything has an ending, but that there is much more to come after that.

Learn to create!

A cycle started and that cycle ended now, leaving place for another new one to take its place. One year ago, I was a bit sceptical about living in one place for so long, I was a bit worried about what it could inflict on my future projects, as I never saw myself in a place, but always around, moving from one place to the other. However, not after long I have understood that yes, it is good to welcome routine, stability and normality in your life. It is good to taste a bit of it before you refuse it altogether, same as everything else! It is good to try something new for a change, in many aspects.

Oh yeah – and learn to have a goal!

You know a cycle has finished when you feel that you need some time to reflect when you feel enriched and eager for more as well as when you are melancholic and maybe even a bit disoriented. So what do you do with that disorientation? Well, you refocus and redirect that intention, your higher purpose. I have to admit I have faced this empty moment before as well, after finishing university, after quitting my job, and even after other projects I was so into – that I would eventually find myself next day on my way home without really acknowledging what has happened with me.

All was difficult till I have created my little heart box – it is basically the place where I keep all the beautiful moments, people and experiences lived – but most of all – there is a special place only for kids and their joyful little faces. Will always be a child at heart – and will always look up at children as the real teachers. After all, what else is a man’s life if not a series of cycles of growth? And what else to do with them if not cherish and learn from them as you best see fit?

Never stop dreaming and aiming for more!

The end of a cycle should never stop us from dreaming, from that urge to become better, the curiosity and the passion for life. Remember always to take that next small step. It will lead your way, and by the time you know it, you will understand.

I shall give a huge thanks from the heart to Il Cesto ( literary means ‘the nest’) that slowly became my family and accommodated me among many others – and of course, provided the instruments and helped me fulfil this cycle. Will surely find a place for you guys in my heart box!!!

Learn to be thankful, learn to give!

Keep on Walking – Or the Power of the First Step

(long time since I wrote my last article – however, gotta say I am enjoying my last days in Italy and even if it sounds like an excuse, I know that once I will internalize everything, it will come out in a big fat boom of an article :D)

We all have good days and bad days – sunny/ grey, joyous/gloomy – right? Good days become better and bad days turn out amazing when we actually get out there and explore, show up. Now, this particular one was sunny- even more than normal. I was sitting in front of the sea, with a friend, both waiting for these overpriced expressos – still, enjoying the shade – and thinking …how lucky we are that at least we don’t have to pay for the view!

The sun was up and no clouds were disturbing its majesty (!) The beach was vibrating with colours and people from everywhere looking for a tan, for their kids to have fun or simply to get some peace of mind. Liguria is a real beauty. A part of Italy that unfortunately is a bit undervalued, however, its long coast, rocky beaches, turquoise water and stunning colourful houses (check out the pictures) – not to mention exquisite cuisine will leave you impressed. Hence, if you are willing to explore, do some trekking and take a bath in these waters, I definitely recommend this route.

This morning, we took the train from Genova to Santa Margherita Ligure, alongside Portofino National Park, walked from there around two hours and we were now in the middle of our way, in San Fruttuoso. We decided to have a short tapas for lunch and a well-deserved, vigorous bath. After that, a well-deserved coffee and we would be on the go for the most difficult part – up to Camogli. ( A good way to go as this time you have some time to rest in the midway and that definitely helps a lot during the hot summer days!)

With the sun and all, I have to say that five hours of walking was a challenge – we still did it and in the end, we felt more than fantastic. Probably due to my East European origins – and the fact that I have a weak heart could add to that – I can admit I am not a keen fan of the heat, especially with such high levels of humidity – and I only go out if I must. But I guess that I had a lot of energy to release so 30 degrees were not that bad after all.

Of course, I am a big fan of walking in nature. I rediscovered the easiest way there is to reflect and forget at the same time, of being in nature and with yourself. I never thought of walking in such philosophical terms, but I guess it does – it has a certain philosophy. It also gives you that peace of mind, that rush of adrenaline all at the same time. There, with the trees, the sea breeze all surrounding you, while you try to catch your breath and feel your heart pumping in your head, it is there that you feel this strong urge to scream of happiness – your body feels independent and uncontrollable – your feet don’t seem to listen and all around you is connected so beautifully.

If you think about it, this is life. You choose the direction and with every step that you take, you dwell on the next and next, and the next – that eventually you reach the destination. For every step is a step into the unknown – you jump from one rock to the other, from one doubt to another, hoping that you won’t fall, hoping that you will remain standing. From ups and downs, from shade to sun and from thirst to quenching it – it is all a continuous change, of trust and to a deeper sense, of faith that eventually it will turn out well.

Then again, we mustn’t forget to respect and learn from nature – we have all the answers we need if we know how to listen, if we give ourselves that chance and if we quiet our chatter in our minds. It is really that simple.

dav

Even that overpriced coffee, in the end, was worth its money, because of the view, because of the breeze under the shade and mostly because of a sacket of sugar that I found on the table that had the following message on it :

‘being pleased doesn’t mean to give up but to enjoy even the small things’

*(following article – On cycles, beginnings and endings!)