I was between places, which is increasingly where I think I live. Between Guatemala and Bosnia, between two different worlds of heartbreak and solitary immersion into the work that makes me come alive. Between the confusion of fulfillment and immense human tragedy inhabiting the same universe. There is a level of experience that comes with floating in the in-between places and it comes with a dance of transience, reflection, and anticipation.
A dear friend asked me during that in-between place if I ever imagined a smaller life. "Can you do away with it all? Kick it into the sea?" We all like to think that we can. "No, really, I'm serious. Small house on a Greek island. White house, blue windows. That is your life. All of your life. Can you do that?"
There is exhilaration to living in the privileged overlap between the life you imagined and the life you are inhabiting. As a guest lecturer in my Processes of International Negotiation class yesterday, former Ecuadorian President Jamil Mahuad posited "sometimes, real life is more imaginative than imagination." So what if that imagination shifts? What if, enamored as you are with your current life, grateful as you are for it, you also harbor a parallel imagination of a different life?
In that life, you wake up on a Greek island. You are blessed to call that your homeland.
Your hair smells of salt, your eyes breathe of sea.
Your days are sun and waves, white-washed and bright. Your breaths are deeper, your fingers slower when they type. Or write. Maybe they remember to write, pen intertwined between them.
You remember what slowness feels like. You smile more easily, you drop your shoulders to their intended height, well below your ears.
You call yourself a writer. A photographer. A creative soul. The labels matter less; they become easier to claim. You create. You put the whole force of your soul behind your creations.
Your senses become more acute, and so does your memory. Greek islands are for nostalgia and remembrance, for making memories, for sometimes forgetting them.
You know that Greece, or the islands, is not the only place where you can do all of this: where you can claim the labels, and create, and drop the shoulders, and inhale deeply. But you also know that Greece gives you permission -- and permission is what you need to set yourself on this trail...
You fill your palette with wine and feta, with warmth and embraces.
You love. Amply. The only way there is to love.
You call that your life.
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