Patmos: Carrying the Calm

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I just got back from the Greek island, Patmos, where I didn’t see even one cloud in the sky the entire time I was there. Not one. The idea that there was literally not even one hiding somewhere was so absurdly ideal to my friend Harrison and I that we actually started looking for them, trying to seek them out. But they really just did not exist in that slice of sky. It couldn’t be true, and it was.

It was after hiking to a small, cliff-entangled beach, sitting near the water’s edge by myself, that I realized there was nowhere I would rather be.

(I know, I know, this is how these kinds of things always happen, right? Always sitting somewhere unimaginably gorgeous, reflecting the Big Questions to a body of water. Maybe it will make it seem more like a true, awkward human life if I include the detail that it was literally so windy on this beach that sand was slapping me in the face during the entirety of this seemingly serene moment. The only comfortable place to sit and avoid sand in my mouth was to sit IN the icy water, and I still had an inch of salt and sand packed into my scalp.)

Anyway.

While sitting there, I simply became aware of the fact that I wasn’t waiting for anything. Or wanting for anything. I wasn’t wishing I were somewhere else, or reaching to check my phone, or creating a quiet to-do list in my head. I wasn’t already mentally on to the next thing, and I felt no pressure to be.

Even with my big, impending move back to the United States, and how overwhelmed I’ve felt from the past year. That I would turn back up in America with no job, or life plan, or even health insurance. That I still wasn’t quite sure how I would pay rent the following week, and that my diabetes CGM sensor died at the beginning of my trip and I couldn’t replace it, and I was frustrated and scared. Despite feeling so unsure, so orbital and in-between everything in my life, I sensed an unfolding in which I would ultimately be alright.

Patmos is gentle and mystical.

I spent so many hours on one specific perch of the hotel overlooking the sea and the cliffs that I can feel it in my bones even as I type this, even while I watch rain smear down my windows in Amsterdam.

Patmos radiated a calm to me that I’ve long heard about from others, but never felt in myself. It was unprecedented and wholly unexpected, but I hope to carry that calm with me as I move through rougher waters. It was so subtle and haunting, moving through me in a whisper while I wasn’t really doing anything at all.

I was just there, only being, and it felt so intrinsically enough.

 

 

The body does what it does

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In one of Joan Didion’s personal essays, reflecting on some rejection in her early twenties, she wrote, “I lost the conviction that lights would always turn green for me.”

I lost that conviction, at least health-wise, too, years ago–nearly 10 now, which I can hardly believe– when in a summer’s time I went from a bright, healthy girl to a dehydrated, emaciated one. For the first time in my life, I walked into a doctor’s office and the light didn’t turn green.

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I was halfway home

I had a low blood sugar this morning.

I was biking home in the rain from a friend’s house when it happened. My friend lives 10km from my house, about a 40 minute bike ride. I was halfway home.

I felt it coming on, of course. The world got a bit more spinny, my body felt like it was floating and sinking simultaneously. I pedaled on, trying to find a sheltered spot to stop, thinking back on what had gone wrong this morning, what could have led to this. It was obvious, I did a lot of things wrong diabetes-wise this morning. Some mornings, you just do a lot of things wrong, you know?

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