Turkey and Greece. Two ancient and fascinating countries. There were mosques and chapels, Byzantines and Romans, tiles and prayer beads. There was the call to prayer and the call of the late night disco. There was Turkish Delight and Baklava, Raki and Ouzo. Over the course of a week at sea we “sailed” the Aegean on a beautiful Turkish gulet. We spent eight days immersed in the beauty of a region rich in history and culture. The Sea – there is no word to describe its blue-ness. You can see it in a postcard, but there is nothing like having it surround you.
On Kos we visited The Tree of Hippocrates under which, according to legend, Hippocrates taught his students medicine. We took a nature hike and discovered interesting bugs and butterflies on Psermios. We walked along Lipsi, the island on which, according to myth, Odysseus was imprisoned for seven years by the Goddess Calypso when he was on his way back from Troy to Ithaca. In Patmos we visited the cave of St. John and encountered a charming priest who took the names of our loved ones and promised they would be in his prayers. We visited Kalymnos, the island of the sponges (where sponge divers collect from the sea). And ended with a fabulous side trip to Ephesus where we visited ancient ruins including the Temple of Artemis and the home of the home of Mother Mary.
Along the way we made Koliva and set our little paper boats out to sail in the harbor. We swam in the Aegean and lounged on the upper deck. Souzo kept us sated with Poseidon Punch and Angela kept us engaged with stories and traditions (most of which involve some kind of pastry and liqueur). We laughed and cried, and celebrated the beautiful lives of Josh, Robby, Bill, Jeremy, Matt, Roger and Sabrina. As always, the lives we celebrated had much in common. Each person had a rich creative life and talent, and each had a tender and kind heart.
We thank our participants (all Goddesses!) for putting themselves in our hands, trusting us with their stories, and for being so open and compassionate with each other. We thank our Turkish Captain and Crew, we thank Angela and George (our most generous boat chartering company owners, and program directors) from Endless Blue, we thank Souzo (our negotiator, comforter, and bartender), and we thank our supportive families and loved ones back home.
Ten trips have provided us with countless memories. They are all extraordinarily special made so by the lovely and loving people who sign on. They bring with them their loved ones, and all the attendant stories (some hilarious, some heartbreaking). It’s an amazing thing – to be both humbled and emboldened. Humbled by the grace and goodness shown by each participant, and emboldened by this same grace and goodness.
We have learned that we all suffer a loss (if not multiple losses). How we process, how we incorporate this loss in to our day-to-day is always a choice. We continue to learn from each other.
And finally, we learned from Rumi.
Of the rain at night no one is aware
for every soul is asleep.
Yet the freshness of the rose garden in the morning
is evidence of the rain that no one saw.
A spark from a burning heart
the sigh of a broken heart
always reach the Beloved.