Imagine you are going on holiday to Disneyland – a man-made paradise for adults and children alike. You’ve seen the pictures and are anticipating this dreamland up until the moment you arrive. You take in the exciting atmosphere, but something is off, something’s not right. Suddenly it occurs to you – Disneyland is deserted, completely empty. There aren’t people, no tourists, and the energy that you anticipated doesn’t exist. What happened here? Why is this paradise a ghost town, a shell of what it once was and has the potential to be?
My intention was to get a coffee, an accomplice to my escape from a 2 week-old-not-quite home, my retreat into Massachusetts to meditate. Pay attention, or you’ll miss it – Shelbourne Falls snuck up on me and completely captivated me. It has a desolate, quint, yet charming nature that immediately drew me in. I practically jumped out of the car to walk down Main Street, taking in the antique shops offset by magnificent trees standing tall on mountains in the background, historic decor beckoned to me, inviting my imagination to join it, as if walking through another time. Continue reading “Shelbourne Falls”
I reach for the outstretched Italian hand that firmly pulls me onto an old, wooden gondola, into another time. I carefully step aboard the wobbly boat and take my ornate, velvet seat amongst the Canadians facing me. I feel them looking at my worn rubber flip-flops, the permanent ink sky on my foot, my elephant t-shirt. Where is she from? How old is she? I smile and they collectively question me. Yes, I’m American – yes, I’m traveling my myself, and I unwind the tale of my journey to curious Canadians as we bob into the wide canal, floating into another world. Continue reading “Gondola”
What a strange feeling to have an unfamiliar home. To unpack all your worldly belongings in a space you’ve just seen, and call it home. I’ve had this idea I’ve nurtured for a year, plans I’ve made, a picture I once saw from a thousand miles away, and accepted as my future home. I’ve unpacked all the pieces of me as quickly as I could, as if the faster this unfamiliar space becomes adorned with my belongings, the swifter I’ll adjust and become comfortable. That’s not how this works you know, can’t fool a pro – I’ve done this before. Comfort, along with familiarity comes with time, the former is fleeting, the later lingers, mutates, and can remain in some ways even for a lifetime. Continue reading “The Road to Providence”
Vipassana – to see things as they really are.
I sit on a cushion in a low lit room with my eyes closed. My whole body tingles and I am weightless, completely unaware of the outside world, and even the other 30 something people sitting around me. What am I feeling? Change. Everything changes, constantly. I feel the particles my body is made up of change every second, my thoughts change, my feelings change. Non attachment and equanimity is what I’m seeking. Equanimity with every sensation I feel, not attaching to it, not avoiding it. Continue reading “Vipassana”
The sun has long ago set, the shops have closed, city life is subsiding, but I can’t bring myself to go in. The night is too perfect, the weather too beautiful, and I’m acutely aware that my time here is about to expire. I sip my tea, aimlessly roaming the streets of Warsaw, mesmerized by the cobblestone, the perfectly lined colorful buildings, and find myself at a castle in the old town. I can still hear the faint music of performers in the old town square, also savouring every last-minute of the perfect Polish summer night. Continue reading “Wandering Warsaw”
Yes, I know, I stopped writing. I’ve started countless posts that I’ve abandoned halfway through. I went to Greece with the passionate intention to write about my experience, it’s just that, I’m not sure how to verbalize it, how to share it. I arrived in Leros and jumped into an exciting, emotional, overwhelming, and sad tornado that consumed me until the moment I boarded a tiny plane back to Athens. It’s taken me a few weeks of aimlessly wandering around Europe to sort it all out. Continue reading “Silence”
Barbed wire. Fences and barbed wire. A cement court surrounded by high fences and barbed wire. A policed metal gate opens up to gravel, concrete, metal containers and barbed wire. A military truck dumps crates of bread on the slab of concrete surrounded by barbed wire – breakfast. Children run around on the gravel, playing on rocks in the confined, fenced in camp. All I see is barbed wire. Surely this is a prison. No? A refugee camp you call it. Hotspot, a prison to some – Syrians, Kurds, Palestinians, Iranians, Pakistanis a refugee camp to others. Continue reading “Hotspot”
Sunday morning I wake up with a busy mind and a desire to get lost. I grab a cappuccino freddo and set out on foot towards a distant castle, somewhere on the island. Dodging motorbikes, I ascend a road along the edge of a cliff, looking down at the maze of houses below, stretching out to the ocean. Indeed I get lost, looking for a path that will lead me to the castle. After making countless wrong turns, I realize the path I’m looking for isn’t a road, but a narrow staircase pathway. What seemingly is an entrance to a house is really a secret stairway leading to a quaint village on a beach. Continue reading “Queen of the Castle”
Seemingly, everyone I’ve met since landing in Athens has an opinion about the refugee crisis in Greece – locals, Uber drivers, NGO’s, police, and refugees themselves. Opinions are freely shared with me once I disclose what I’m doing here (teaching yoga in a refugee camp) and I listen, hesitating to form an opinion until I’ve had my own experience on the island of Leros, my home for the next month or so. Continue reading “POC, Refugee, Resident”