Leap of Faith

Traveling to Greece was a leap of faith.  I knew that if I went, I would return changed, I would return recharged, and I would return to forge a new path.  I was leaving my comfort zone behind forever.  I was changing my mindset to not only be a traveler, but to also be a writer.  I was returning to my roots as a writer.  I was shedding my teacher self, and humbling myself to become a student.  I was giving myself time to practice the craft of writing.


Traveling to Greece for a writer’s workshop was my opportunity to “study abroad” like most of my friends had done for an entire semester of college.  I had never been away from home for such a long trip.  I spent a whole moon cycle in Greece.  Why did I wait so long for a full immersion in a hospitable, historic, and calming country?  Why did I wait until 2010 to get my passport?

I actually went without expectations.   I went with an open mind ready to be receptive to my surroundings and to be receptive to the purpose in every moment.  I went to experience things as they are, including the Grecian beauty of nature, people, food, and drink.  While traveling, I traveled inward, and dug into my own core of truth.  The Aegean Sea washed over me, cleansing me in ways I never imagined.

In Greece I stayed on the island of Thassos.  I went to the beach almost daily, and almost every time I visited the temple ruins.  Yes, as we lay on blue beach chairs upon the sparkling sand, with the water’s soothing rhythm lulling us into a catnap and calling us to go for another swim, we were steps away from several ancient sites.  I, for one, kept returning to see these again and again.  I couldn’t simply tan knowing that about a hundred meters away was a sacred area.  I needed to ingest deeply and ruminate about this historic spot.


The temple ruins were scattered; there were the remnants of the foundations of several rooms.  To the right of the ruins was a cave.  The cave had tall rusty fences blocking off the entrance for safety.  I could throw nearby pine cones into the cave, but I couldn’t go in.  There was a four-foot wall that had been added above the temple ruins next to the olive tree.  Adjacent to the wall and in the shade of the tree were three marble benches, looking like they had been created more recently.  These benches were sometimes my meditation spots.

Then, three weeks into the trip, I sat on the aforementioned wall and stared deeper into the caves than I had before.  I was creating stories in my head about the inhabitants of the caves.  The first people who lived on this island dwelt in these caves.  They were hearty, strong people.  They had to know how to create fire and how to gather their own food.  They were survivors.  The men and women of Thassos were tough as nails and they had to know how to do everything in their own small community.  They still have this independent spirit today.

Staring into the caves and seeing the darkness inside, even on a sunny day, my thoughts silenced.  All I could hear was the rhythm of the sea.  I had the sensation that I needed to take this leap of faith far more literally than I had up to this moment.  I leaped off the four-foot wall and landed on the uneven grass below, spraining my right ankle, all the while wearing my black leather sandals.  A man who was looking after the temple grounds stood up and looked over the wall.  He said something in Greek as he started towards me.  I stood up quickly and scampered off saying “Kala…kala!” (Good…good!) to try to convince him that I was not really injured.  He sat back down, and I hobbled off quickly to the nearby beach to request ice from the nice gyro food truck lady that was always there.  She gave me a small cup of ice, so at least I was able to lie down and put ice on it soon after the fact.

My leap of faith succeeded in humbling me.  Also, it allowed me to act foolishly, and realize that any setback or injury is simply another opportunity to slow down and reflect.  Because my ankle was injured, I wrote more feverishly than I had the whole trip during the final 7 days.  Luckily, I didn’t land on my wrists as I fell.  Sitting down to ice my ankle forced me to see my own faults and my own weaknesses.  Sitting forced me to slow down and meditate on all the beauty that I saw in Greece.  I was not on this island to run a marathon.  I was here in Greece to write.  Nothing would stop me from the task at hand.  Nothing would distract me from my true purpose.