One thing I’ve realized with this new granola-crunchy-living-in-the-moment-practice that I’ve picked up is that the more you search and long and yearn for something, the less likely you are to find it.
But sometimes I get caught up in the yearning. Searching for an intention feels a little like trying to capture a butterfly in a net: if you succeed, you just might harm it. Better to be still and let it come to you.
That’s exactly how I’ve found myself settling into Mykonos.
I’ve spent the last few nights here after a less than 24 hour jaunt in Athens, where I met up with my travel companion, Heather. When I say “met” I mean this literally. While we’ve known each other for years through friends and social media, we hadn’t met in person until spontaneously deciding to come to Greece together. The decision to travel together was as wise as the destination we chose – a natural fit.
We bonded fast over a 4 hour walking tour of the Acropolis and delicious lunch in Plaka before hopping a flight to the island of Mykonos, which is equal parts posh and charm and everything I’d hoped it would be. Mykonos Town feels straight out of a storybook.
We spent our first couple of nights at Mykonos Grace, an appropriate name for such a stunner of a hotel. This boutique beauty is all about the people – in less than two days, we fell so in love with the staff that we had a hard time saying goodbye.
Every morning, they serve a multi-course, champagne breakfast that is as delicious as it is unique, featuring everything from scrambled eggs with feta to freshly squeezed fruit juice smoothies, all from the minds of a 25-year-old chef extraordinaire. Every evening, we were excited to find a new bookmark on our pillows with a quote from a Greek philosopher.
This morning, our friends at Eclectic Greece, our incredible partner company who put everything together for us, arranged a private yoga session for us in the gallery at Mykonos Grace. The sweet staff moved the pieces of art out of the way so we didn’t knock anything over with our Downward Dogs or Tree poses.
After our lovely instructor, Elena, wrapped up a relaxing session, she had us choose one card each from a deck to help set an intention for the day. I drew one that read:
Imagine that your entire world is a sacred chapel. Every inch of your life is filled with grace and the presence of the divine. Your goal: to visualize yourself in the company of heaven every minute of the day.
This isn’t as hard of a task to do on an island this beautiful, where we’ve spent our afternoons staring out into water so bright blue that it could belong to the Caribbean before enjoying a delicious dinners in town, like at Caesar’s (a must have). These are the moments that I want to capture, when it’s easy to find heaven in every minute of every day.
But what about when it isn’t? What about the times that gratitude doesn’t come naturally to us, when we have to be hit square in the face over just how beautiful we have it?
I was at Starbucks with my friend Kelly the day before I left for this trip. We were meeting up to do our Saturday morning ritual: sitting beside each other at the community table, her responding to emails and me writing whatever I could muster to write.
A man walked in, wearing a suit and suffering from a disease. What disease, I’m unsure, but one that I’ve seen only a handful of times. One that made its way into his limbs and caused him to lose control of his own muscles. His arms flailed wildly about him, one leg jetted out in the opposite direction of the other. It was a feat for him to walk to the counter. People averted their eyes.
He had a difficult time speaking to order a coffee. A girl helped him to sit at the table across from us. She placed his coffee in front of him, opened his yogurt and handed him a spoon. Then she left with her friends – she wasn’t with him, just an incredibly kind soul that stepped in to help a man in need. He was alone.
Kelly and I continued plugging away at our work, but I couldn’t find a word to write. All I could do was see him out of the corner of my eye as he struggled to move a coffee cup from the table to his lips. I waited for an opportunity to help, unsure of how I could but knowing that I needed to. I cleaned up his trash when he got up to leave, feeling inadequate, like there was something more I needed to be doing. Like I should have struck up a conversation, but I didn’t know what to say or how to say it.
The interaction left something rattling within me for the past few days, something that I haven’t been able to put down on paper until now. How can we do more moving forward to become kinder and more grateful?
On the bookmark I received at the Grace, a quote from Heraclitus: “Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.”
And that’s the intention that landed like a butterfly on my shoulders during yoga. To live every day as the kind of person you wish to become.
It’s easy to feel grateful when traveling, but it’s not easy in the day to day to remember how desperately lucky you are to be able to afford that coffee, to lift it off the table without fear that your own body might act out against you and cause you to spill it, to take every sip with gratitude.
This is what I hope to take away from Mykonos. As beautiful as the scenery is, as immaculate as the hotels are, as lovely and warm as the people have been – I leave now carrying a feeling in my soul of those words from the card I drew that morning.
This entire world is a sacred chapel. Every inch of your life is filled with grace and the presence of the divine. Every inch.