“When you knew you solely had a yr to dwell, how would you reside it?”
– Jennifer Barclay, Falling in Honey; Life and Love on a Greek Island
Have you ever ever dreamed of packing up and transferring to a Greek Island? Creator Jennifer Barclay did simply that and shared her expertise in her e-book, Falling in Honey, Life and Love on a Greek Island. A delight to learn, Falling in Honey charts Jennifer’s journey of following her dream and transferring to the tiny Greek island of Tilos.
Now for me, I discover that no matter e-book I occur to be studying at any given time will typically form what I occur to be experiencing in my very own life – often by shifting my perspective in a roundabout way. So it was with Falling in Honey, which I used to be studying throughout my not-whatsoever-dreamy Christmas trip in my house on not-so-tiny Vancouver Island a few years in the past. My aged Mother had come to go to and wanted a substantial amount of assist – after which my aged canine collapsed and wanted much more assist.
So when the time got here for me to break down into mattress (my sofa reasonably) at evening and skim a chapter or two of Falling in Honey, I might quickly placed on the again burner the truth that my gravely in poor health canine was in emergency and my motionless, demanding and oddly ravenous mom was in my mattress. However escaping one’s actuality can solely go to this point.
For whereas studying about tzatziki and spanikopita, heat sandy seashores and refreshing swims within the sea soothed my soul throughout a really frazzling time, it additionally received me enthusiastic about… properly, about ideas – and simply how vital a job they play in figuring out whether or not or not we’re in a dream or a nightmare at any given time of our lives.
If I’ve realized nothing else on this life to this point, I’ve realized this: happiness is a selection – a way of thinking – versus a assured outcome that comes from making a change in a single’s exterior circumstances. And but so many individuals, myself included, are infamous for fantasizing about how a lot happier they might be in the event that they lived elsewhere, with another person, doing one thing else.
And truthful sufficient: possibly they might be.
But it surely’s additionally truthful to say that no matter the place we dwell, the trials and tribulations of life nonetheless occur. They do for me, right here in my little bungalow by the ocean… and so they actually did for Jennifer on her reasonably rocky highway to serenity. As such, I would not say Falling in Honey is a reader’s escape from actuality. Fairly, I feel the e-book holds a deeper and extra universally related message: house is the place your coronary heart is and if you cannot discover the actual treasure you search in your individual yard, you in all probability will not have the ability to discover it elsewhere.
What may have to vary first is how you reside your life versus the place you reside it.
Because it turned out, Jennifer’s coronary heart was on the island of Tilos – with out or with out a particular man in her life. And due to this, Falling in Honey succeeds in offering beautiful examples of tips on how to expertise the joyful simplicities that the slower tempo of island life can provide: shopping for native meals, getting ready scrumptious meals, taking lengthy walks, studying within the sunshine, watching the sundown… principally slowing down sufficient to savour the easy pleasures of each day life versus speeding by means of the day at breakneck velocity.
Certainly, the extra I learn of Falling in Honey, the extra I started to salivate – each on the tantalizing descriptions of contemporary tomatoes, basil and feta cheese drizzled with olive oil or the nice and cozy pita bread dipped in home made tzatziki and on the pleasant sense of serenity that Jennifer’s writing about island life evoked.
However then one evening, I put the e-book down, sat up and seemed round my lounge – and gave my head a shake. Now wait a minute right here, I believed to myself: I dwell on an island. A less complicated life at a slower tempo had my motive for transferring right here within the first place. I, too, had dreamed of being a author by the ocean – albeit the Pacific versus the Mediterranean.
However the sea is the ocean and writing is writing… and since each are great academics, I clearly wasn’t a really astute pupil. Externally, I had all the required circumstances in place for internal peace. Internally, my stress stage indicated I’ll as properly be an funding banker in Manhattan.
For steering, I turned – but once more – to a different writer and pulled out my dog-eared copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s traditional, Present from the Sea.
“Simplification of the outward life isn’t sufficient,” Anne jogged my memory. “It’s merely the skin… a highway to grace. The ultimate reply is at all times inside.”
Ahhh… sure. Though my coronary heart was in Sidney by the Sea, my thoughts was clearly nonetheless struggling to get with the slower-paced program. And that is okay: consciousness is a vital first step. Altering – or accepting – one’s self, I am studying, would not occur in a single day.
“Endurance, persistence, persistence is what the ocean teaches.”
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Present from the Sea
To me, probably the most lovely factor about Falling in Honey was how Jennifer made the change in her life that she knew she wanted to make – and by discovering the braveness to take action, she fell in love with life once more. And that is what I did, too, by transferring to Sidney.
However falling in love with life is reasonably like falling in honey: candy as it may be, typically you get so caught within the particulars you lose sight of the larger image.
Studying Falling in Honey – and writing about it – helped pull my perspective away from focusing solely on the current, reasonably sticky, state of affairs by reminding me to see it for it actually was: a small however aggravating bump on the longer highway of the life that I’ve chosen to take.
Maybe it will not come as a shock that Jennifer and I’ve an fascinating historical past collectively. She was my first editor on my e-book, A Widow’s Awakening. Jennifer patiently taught me tips on how to write artistic non-fiction. Although we by no means met in particular person in all of the years we labored collectively, she painstakingly helped me remodel my manuscript from the shattered ramblings of a heartbroken widow right into a compelling story.
So I return now to Jennifer’s poignant query to start with quote of this text: When you knew you solely had one yr to dwell, how would you reside it?
Nicely, since I lastly discovered that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, my reply is easy – however not simple: with great gratitude for all that I have already got.