Somewhere in all of Greece there is a rock



"Set wide the window. Let me drink the day."
Edith Wharton, Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verses


I've been thinking about our very first retreat, where among our team of travellers was a very good friend of mine who was in bad need of some restorative time. Life had been unfairly demanding of Anita in the preceding years. And since she is the type who gives 110% to everything, she was burning out. She needed some breathing space.
She did try to shed all the back-home noise for the trip, but couldn’t completely escape the grip her office had on her. She had obligations, work to do. So although she enjoyed some downtime, and did get re-acquainted with her work-in-progress, she was also preoccupied with deadlines and staffing issues. She didn’t get to ‘just be’ as much as the rest of us.
It was our last morning in the village and an hour before our departure. 
Anita took her camera and went down to the beach for a walk. She thought she might get a last few photos, and more importantly, she wanted some time to reflect on her own, to think about what she was taking away from the retreat. 


And there, as she strolled, was a rock.


Now, there are a lot of rocks in the Peloponnese, and in our region, Mani, in particular.


Once, I was out with Elias, our guide and friend, in an olive grove, a map spread out on the hood of the Land Rover so he could trace for me the route we had been discussing. There was a slight breeze that would catch and curl the map, tease it away.


“Get a rock to hold this down,” he said, gesturing across the vehicle.


I took a few steps. In March the land in the olive grove was all wildflowers and tall grass. The only rocks I could see were the large ones, holding up terraces. I turned in a circle, looking for something else…a pile, a horde, smooth stones that soothe the palm, like those at the beach. Something portable. Something obvious. Elias watched with his typical calm. “Somewhere, in all of Greece, there is a stone,” he said dryly.


Amused, and if I am honest, lightly embarrassed, I picked up a dirty jagged red lump the size of Hercules’ fist from near the base of the stone wall. I held it up for him to see. Elias showed his approval with a single nod.


As I was saying, there are a lot of rocks in the Mani.


And as it happened this day as Anita aimlessly wandered Kardamyli’s pebble beach listening to the crunch of smooth stones under foot, something caught her eye.  She turned and scanned the ground. One stone, palm-sized, similar to all the surrounding rocks. Hundreds of people could have passed it without noticing it. It wasn’t set apart in any way, except for this:


Neatly printed upon it in black felt pen were the words, “Live Each Day.”


She caught her breath. Looked around. There was no one else on the beach that morning. Inside that very moment, this was just…for her.


In the land of the ancients, had Persephone sent this last reminder as she slipped to the underworld and left us to winter?


Anita and the stone contemplated one another in holy silence.


As she told me about it later, eyes sparkling, Anita stopped suddenly. “Oh my gosh! I didn’t even take a picture…!”


The retreat is like that. It holds so much magic to those who are open to it.


But then again, isn’t that same thing true even today, right where you are, right now? There are little miracles all around us.  


Choose to be open today. Choose to be awake and alive with wonder. What beauty, what gifts—from nature, from the gods, from your own heart—can you find today?

Να είσαι καλά. 
May you always be well,



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