Lessons from the past about ferryboats, starry skies and keftedakia
Deck of a ferry going to Crete, September 1972.
I am 5 years old.
I am travelling to Crete with my parents. We are going to live there for a while, working on the former leper colony of Spinalonga.
I don't know it yet but these few months are going to be crucial in the formation of my personality, and I'm going to be learning so many new things, acquiring so many of the beliefs that are still with me today, both the good ones and the really terrible traumatic ones.
We will be living in a one room square house by the beach, without running water and with what can only be defined as the bare minimum. At some point the roof did actually completely collapse on us… Anyway, this is a story for another time, about the amazingness of bare minimum and such (still struggling today to allow myself more than that though…Collateral damages…)
So… Back to the ferry.
The three of us, my parents and I, we form a basic cell of safety and love. I couldn't have defined that at the time, but in the midst of living in communes and a complete hippie lifestyle, they (we) created a triangle of love and protection that was crucial to me… And maybe to them too. A cell. A unique three sided triangle where each of us had a purpose, a place and a specific utility.
I was the child. The joy. The light.
Part of my job was to entertain.
Most of my job was to enjoy.
And I did. Oh boy! I did !
Back to the ferry.
Bare minimum meant no cabin. We lived on the deck. The crossing was 12 hours at the time ( it's 8 nowadays). Bear in mind we did this on a regular basis, going from my granny's in Athens to Crete and back.
So... Dinner time... my mum would install our sleeping bags ( Swiss army ones, military green with real duck feathers inside, so cosy !) into a nice little “picnic” area, she would open the plastic box provided by my giagia (granny in Greek) containing keftedakia (Greek meatballs) and grab lemon (of course keftedakia without lemon are a no-go, bare minimum or not) and tomatoes, and olives and bread and we’d eat.
At the time, we were travelling with all of my parents' cutlery and china, which was composed of three wooden bowls, three camping metallic cups, 3 sets of camping spoon and fork and a folding knife each (French Opinel for anyone asking)...I still have my set ... See the picture.
So we ate. No phone, no tables, not many other people on the deck either ( this is a time before mass tourism and the Greeks on the ferries despise the deck).
Peace, good food, the sound of the engines, the smoke from the huge chimney, the distant sound of waves beneath us, the fresh salty air... all together a magic adventure... But wait, it's getting better.
Later, we would move and find a more secluded spot, where there were less lights on the deck, and install our camp for the night.
3 sleeping bags, mine in the middle, luggage and towels as pillows…
Then the real magic began for me…
Have you ever lied down on a deck at sea watching the sky?
There is nothing blocking the view, nothing between you and the stars.
That night might have been a Dark Moon night... The sky was dark as can be and the stars were everywhere…
So many... so bright... so twinkly…
Amazingly close and incredibly distant…
I was in awe. I don't think I slept much …
The feeling of safety of being between my sleeping parents, the wonders of the night sky, the warmth inside my sleeping bag and the fresh salty air on my cheeks, the steady humming of the engine, the sea crashing against the hull, the rocking of the ship itself, all that contributed to what was, I now understand, my first mystic experience, my first encounter with the Universe, with Source, with all that is bigger than us.
I remember it so vividly. I feel it still: the awe, the sheer wonder, the reverence for that miracle that is the cosmos. And me.
I felt part of it.
I felt I was in it.
I felt I was it.
I believe it opened up my soul to another plan of interacting with the world.
And weirdly enough, I did not feel small or afraid.
I felt huge and expansive.
I felt I belonged.
Like I remembered.
Like I had been out there before and traveled through the stars…
Of course... I grew up. And forgot again ...
But these days I cannot help but being sent back to this night, my first awakening, my first encounter with sheer beauty, wholeness, and the feeling of being one with all of it.
And I know now that these intergalactic travels I remembered were true, a distant memory ingrained in me by my many ancestors from the stars.
I know that the Mintakan seed in me was awakened that night, between the sea and stars… and the dormant mermaid was brought to life again.
But this is another story for another time.
That night I woke.
To the magic we are living in.
To the amazingness that is the Planet we walk upon, to the Earth.
To the marvel of the Sea, of Water.
To the splendor of Fire, of the Sky and the Cosmos.
To the sentiment of Freedom in the breeze, to the Air.
And to something that I couldn't name but have now learnt to call Infinite Gratitude for Life.
I must have slept after all, because what woke me up was the first ray of yet another wonder of Fire, the Sun.
And to end this night of discoveries and awakenings, I got to sit in my sleeping bag (with my parents still sleeping) and watch the Rising Sun, like the First Dawn of the Universe, alone on the deck of the moving ship, in the same awe as the night before.
Small person. Big discoveries.
Tiny moment. Huge life-changing awakening.
Ever since that day, awe for the beauty around us lives in me, is ingrained in my every breath.
And to this day I do create these moments of awe daily for myself.
To feel the wonder.
To bask in beauty.
To feel the sheer joy and gratitude for this gift of life.
Do you ?
I'll be happy to hear from you on these few great ideas. Thank you in advance for your comment.
So much for today ...
See you soon, for my next online adventures!
Until then I send you love, light and gratitude.
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