Waiting for the storm..

waiting

Today I woke late (again), to find that moody grey clouds, which hung heavily over the port, had replaced the sunny blue skies of yesterday. The almost glassy still waters had morphed into choppy waves that caused the yachts to bob up and down, jostling for a safe mooring; indeed many local boats have been removed from the water completely. We are waiting for a storm, and the storms we get here are quite a spectacle, trust me! They are fierce, dramatic, exciting, beautiful, and oh so humbling; a real reminder of how impuissant our existence is on this planet when nature unleashes her energy to the sound of Zeus’ wrath. Or as my dear friend Hilda says of the thunder, “There goes Zeus moving the furniture around upstairs again!”

I wandered around the quay, finding Kostas in much better shape than yesterday, in fact he informs me that rather than ‘better’ he’s in fine form; quite a spectacular recovery! We sat on the deck watching the storm come in with our cappuccinos and shared traditional pastries from the local bakery. The change in weather means more work for the locals, as umbrellas and canopies are tied down, outdoor seating (which makes up the majority) is stripped of its upholstery, and anything that’s not nailed down is stowed away securely. The bars and cafes are also preparing to be busy, as we all cram in to the limited space when the rain starts, to sit out the storm in relative comfort with company. Meanwhile the visiting flotillas linger in the harbour, rather than risk the white-capped waves that wait beyond the lighthouse, as their crews sit on deck patiently waiting.

I spent the day visiting friends, lunching with the lovely Tselenti family at the big house on the hill, MT having cooked a feast for her mother and 4 brothers, who all tucked in heartily, between shifts managing their two hotels. I called in to see my oldest friend ‘Speridoula’ and my special friend Phoebus at the taverna with the best view across to the neighbouring island. When we met 14 years ago, Speri didn’t speak much English, and I certainly didn’t speak any Greek, but we quickly became firm friends based on some serious feet-stamping laughter and a twinkle in the eyes that made words completely unnecessary. Now we manage quite decent conversations, despite poor grammar and including much gesticulation, which is an amusing and beautiful testament to our friendship. Phoebus is one of the most determined and inspiring souls I know, he suffered a life changing moped accident years ago that left him severely disabled, unable to control his body including his speech and capacity to manage tasks we so often take for granted such as dressing, eating, or bathing unaided. He is such a brave, patient, courageous soul, and I adore him. Today we hugged and laughed, and I felt his strength emanate from his body, he improves each time I see him, slowly but doggedly determined to stand on his own two feet again.

The air is thick and heavy, but it’s still warm despite the breeze that tugs at the awnings and canopies; the dark sky has been threatening rain for hours and I have been holed up in a favourite patisserie with my laptop, in anticipation of the rain that slashes horizontally. Several cups of coffee and pots of tea later, the light is fading and just as I wonder whether the storm will pass by uneventfully, the distant rumble of thunder creeps into the chilled out music currently playing.

I am not a patient creature by nature, which doesn’t always work out best for me, but some things simply cannot be hurried, and life seems to teach that acceptance is key. Aristotle reminds us that ‘patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet’. So as I wonder how soon I will sink my teeth into the soft flesh to release the juiciest pleasure, lightening fills the sky, flashing across the water; followed by much closer, quickly advancing thunder, and a dirty great grin creeps right across my happy face.. oh I DO love a storm!! The clouds have crept in, hanging heavy and low, almost obscuring our neighbouring island. The temperature has distinctly dropped a few degrees, but I am still comfortable in my shorts & vest, after all the less I wear, the less laundry will be necessary. Skin is certainly a fantastic design element of the human body; thermostat controlled and wipe dry, perfectly suited to dancing in the rain, maybe! In all probability we will lose internet connection soon, so I will post this and just let you know I’m barefoot and ready. “Bring it on Zeus, I’m in the mood for dancing, just throw the rain at me!” ☺ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words ~Hayley Darby ©2013}

My favourite slice of paradise

PN Kef emblisi pic

I awoke late by the Greek clock, early by the British hour, and my waking thought searched for that peaceful presence, that occupies a space in my heart recently encountered. I had been wandering along, feeling remarkably carefree and unsuspecting of the impending intrusion, and am left floating in the uncertain ocean of possibility, a place I have learned to embrace passionately, for after all it is full of infinite beauty, if we choose to see it.

I eventually found my body, having previously only been aware of my internal territory, and noticed the disparate relationship of my physical topography and the typically unyielding mattress of my austere Greek bed. Sounds of the port slipped through the shutters with the slices of light that had spilt across the crumpled sheet, wrapped around my legs, entwined in a memory. Sighing I summoned some strength and managed to inspire millions of motor neurons to move my body, in order to check the fluctuating Internet status of my abode by opening my emails. I read those I wanted, then sank back into my repose to process my findings until coffee called me, when I dressed swiftly in a faithful pair of denim shorts and vest, to bound down the stairs to greet the lively port and all the characters that make this particular slice of paradise so precious to me.

I wandered around the quay greeting friendly faces and answering the familiar questions (What took you so long? Where have you been? How long are you staying?), until I found Kosta in the quiet shade of his bar, whilst the staff served the tables outside as quietly as possible, so as not to aggravate his hangover. His face cracked into the most beautiful smile of recognition before his headache sharply reminded him of his condition. We laughed at life and hugged tightly despite his temporary fragility, catching up over a cappuccino (me) and water (he), sharing traditional pastries from the local bakery. Aggeliki lived up to her angelic moniker and administered her magical massage to the troublesome spot of Kostas neck that feels the tightest, and we lamented the consequences of age combined with the youthful behaviour of his crazy parties. Kosta surrendered to his struggling body and retired to bed, Aggeliki resumed her responsibilities at the bar, and I sat outside figuring there are worse places to contemplate ones indulgence in temptation, as the cheerful sunshine drenched the peaceful port, illuminating it’s beauty as boats gently traversed the glassy water.

After a while I left my seat on the balcony in search of the preciously acute and hilariously dry observations of Minas. He customarily spends the majority of the day at his favourite table, surveying his restaurant. Surrounded by his team of waiters, he called out across the square at my approach, heralding my arrival for anyone within 100m, and nursing his coke zero assured me that his diabetes is behaving lately. We discussed local politics and recounted stories of our shared histories, noting the changes and lamenting absent friends. We watched the life of the square and Minas’ grumbled for my entertainment, enjoying the audience for acknowledgement of his unique and frequently extreme viewpoints. I left Minas with a cheerful smile with a kiss for the orange juice, and walked around the corner to find Angelos in his office.

Angelos is a serious young man with the weight of responsibility resting on his shoulders, and a photo of his father smiling from beyond the grave on his desk. Our comprehension of the passage of time and our confusion over the specific years in which events occurred, served to remind us of the accelerated speed of time that age bestows upon us. Although at least a year younger than I (and a quarter of a century than Minas), he always makes me feel juvenile with my independent adventures in contrast to his empire building vocation. We put the world to rights, and he tells me to keep travelling and bringing home my stories for his enjoyment. I left him with promises to visit his mother soon and sent some love to his wife and children before sauntering back along the quay with an undeniable hunger for my darling, the sea.

As luck would have it, Makis had a similar craving, so when I popped into the shop on my way back to the apartment, he offered me a lift to his favourite beach; allowing me a quick change of clothes as he sat impatiently with the engine running. The car curled expertly into the curves of the road, just a short distance before our descent amongst the fragrant pines towards the turquoise water sitting, waiting, assuredly faithful, for our adoration. Makis changed in the car, and it was my turn to be impatient as I rushed towards the deliciousness. I paused momentarily to drop my bag on the beach and swap my ray bans for Cressi goggles, before hastily stepping into the water, saving my entering breath to exhale below the surface.

The crystal clear water engulfed me, and it felt as if anything other than bliss was cleansed from my soul, instantly revealing the clarity of this privilege. I swam towards the shelf, clearly marked by the line where aquamarine meets turquoise, inhabited by numerous fish that swim unafraid of the human company that dips into their world. I took a moment to float like a starfish in gratitude, to feel the surface tickle my sun kissed skin, feeling supported by the powerful entity in its reassuring calmness. Having spent the summer in California, enchanted by the ocean, my heart has still pined for my true ‘agapi’, the Ionian sea, with it’s gentle caress and beautiful hues of the heavenly blue spectrum. I submerged completely; lost in that peace that resides within and felt my physiology sigh thankfully, as does the heart in the embrace of a previously estranged lover. I noted my slowed pulse and that internal tranquility one finds when gratitude obliterates any other emotion, before breaking the surface to breathe in deeply the joy of living. I swam across the bay, much to the amusements of Greeks who tend to swim straight out into the darker deeper waters, beyond the rocks and around to neighbouring bays, whilst I cause disruption to the traffic system since I wasn’t born by the water and lack their confidence. I soon found my rhythm, breathing deeply for the long strokes my lengthy limbs prefer, and smiled at the un-phased fish, which loitered nonchalantly in my pathway, showing off their magnificent iridescence in the piercing sun beams. I finished my dip, resuming the star-fish floating position for my finale, before joining Makis and his sister on the beach to top up my tan as the sun sat high above the shady olive trees.

Makis returned to the shop, leaving his towel and flippers for his girlfriend Nancy, who appeared for her swim, bravely venturing beyond the visible rocks, before settling on the beach and into the conversation amongst the locals whose children played at the shoreline. I let the language waft over me as I lay under my panama, feeling the heat on my skin and remembering vocabulary and other trips. My thoughts wandered away from the beach and retraced some recent adventures, exploring new territory and chambers of my heart, slipping through the layers of awareness and comprehension, desire and vulnerability. The afternoon drifted by, as the shade inched towards the shoreline, soon eclipsing the beach, cooling my salt dried skin. Yaya, a French friend that runs the diving school, kindly gave me a lift back to the port, and I wandered down the steps smiling as I noticed my shoulders have dropped several inches after my sea-bathing. I encountered Nikos & Themis passing the bar, and admitted that I’d cheated on the Greek sea with the Pacific Ocean, but that my heart was ‘home’ again, laughing as they teased me good naturedly, but promising to join them for the last buffet at The Thai restaurant. It’s the end of the season here, and as tourism cools, businesses close for the winter. For me it’s the best time to visit; the port is returned to the locals, and as they untie themselves from their shops, bars and restaurants, they have time to relax and enjoy it again.

I’m writing in the port, replete after my Thai dinner and catching up with Anna & Pete (who tend to collectively know all the news in the village). I found a sweet spot at Le Passage, beautiful Eleni’s new business venture, which reflects her chic style and sweet nature, as well as her family’s famous restaurant for locals in the village up the hill. As I sip my tea (Jasmine) looking out over the still dark water, it reflects the pretty lights of the port in a perfectly mirrored image. The yachts are lined up and sit obediently waiting for adventures tomorrow, and the impressive private cruisers jostle for pole position for admiration along the quay. Passing friends greet me with hugs of welcome, and acquaintances nod in recognition; they know that this is my favourite slice of heaven on earth, and that I wherever I travel, I will always find a way ‘home’ again. I have had a gorgeous day, and I have more of the same to look forward to again tomorrow : )) Evlogimeni eimai (I’m blessed) !!

I hope that wherever you are, that you have an opportunity to appreciate your environment and spend time with people that enhance your being too. Blessings & filakia (kisses) ❤ Hxx

{Photo of my slice of Paradise 🙂 Words ~Hayley Darby ©2013}

Rainy days and panama hats

panama

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke early, to another grey, damp day in London. The sky is a pale uniform grey, and the soft opaque light lends a gentle quality to the quietness. It’s not currently raining, but after yesterday’s downpour, the cool air smells peaty and autumnal, and it’s tempting to curl up with my latte and laptop and spend the morning in bed. Yesterday was similar, and the day before, and the one before that, and although the changing season has its own charm, there’s a part of my heart that’s not quite ready to relinquish summer with all it’s carefree fun and joyful beauty, just yet.

Yesterday it rained, all day, relentlessly; starting with that fine rain, the kind that’s heavier than mist but falls slowly, gently, silently, and seems to soaks in thoroughly. I met my beautiful friend CE for coffee, in between her kid’s school runs (her little one has just started and is collected at lunch time). We sat in the big squashy sofa at the back of the café, knees curled up as we chatted about our summer adventures, about how life has a funny way of working out, and our current jewellery making projects and ideas. CE has an Etsy page, and regaled me with some of the sweet and romantic stories her customers write to explain they are purchasing her exquisite designs to celebrate, commemorate, and honour those special life events we wish to remember. She admits that some of the stories break her heart, and that as she works moulding the precious metals, she feels emotionally caught in the circumstances, as if she’s infusing her work with compassion and acknowledgment for each individual piece and it’s wearer. Her work is beautiful, delicate, elegant and exquisite; I especially love her fine droplets work; do have a peep! http://www.etsy.com/shop/chained7?ref=pr_shop_more
In fact she’s offering Pure Nourishment readers a 15% discount on orders placed before the end of October 2013, just mention the code word ‘PURE’ in your order (message to seller). Please do check out her FB page too! https://www.facebook.com/christinaeccojewellery1?fref=ts

CE and I said goodbye as she rushed off to collect her little one, the rain kept pouring, slightly heavier than earlier in the morning, droplets that bounced off the pavement and plopped in puddles, and I wondered whether I really needed to go anywhere in it. My heart pined for carefree summer days, walking out of the house without a thought of a jacket or umbrella, sunglasses perched on my make-up less face, carrying nothing more than my purse (wallet in US terms) and phone, and good intentions. I started to pack away my summer wardrobe, sighing heavily as I lamented the lightness of linens, and softness of cottons, smiling affectionately at the flirty panama hat and comfortable Birkenstocks. Then the phone rang, and everything changed, summer’s reprieve arrived with perfect timing. So I booked a flight and depart on Thursday, to my home from home on my favourite Greek island.. where indeed it also rains, but the light is still incredible and the sea is still warm, and frappes in the port with dear, dear friends are waiting. This weekend I’m packing again, I’ll be including some cosy jumpers and a waterproof jacket just in case, but the chance of the panama and Birkenstocks getting an airing is looking pretty hopeful!! Be careful what you wish for.. it might just be granted, and if you let it, life can surprise you with all sorts of blessings! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are, whatever your weather, it’s all so much better when we’re smiling! Love & happy smiles Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words, Hayley Darby ©2013}

Love selfishly (26th July 2013)

her

I wonder if you’ve been let down, or if you’re feeling disappointed, or if you give too much and are feeling depleted? Sometimes we’re very good at caring for others, but somehow manage to miss meeting our own emotional needs and get too busy to be kind to ourselves. Yet when we make time to notice how we are feeling, and discover what it is we need in this moment, we are serving others by taking time to “be selfish”. When we meet our own emotional needs, we are able to give generously from a place of abundant compassion and love; and can burn brightly in the darkness that surrounds us, sharing our positive energy without fatigue or resentment. What are you doing to take care of you? Make sure it’s something wonderful, because you deserve it!! Blessings & hugs, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words by Hayley Darby ©2013}

Sadness

sad

Good morning everyone!! Today I woke early, before my body was ready, but my mind was busy and insisted, so surrendering to wakefulness I found myself washed up on the pillow feeling exhausted. I lay for a while, just wishing sleep would reclaim me, waiting to wake up feeling refreshed and energized, but today is not one of those days, so I gave in and got up for coffee.

It’s a cool, grey start to the day in London, so I crept back to bed with my latte to sip it slowly and watch the cloudy sky as it threatened to cry. I had a lovely day yesterday; attending a first birthday party of a much prayed for miracle child, before meeting a friend I rarely see since he’s a professional tennis player on tour most of the time. I think perhaps my busy day just didn’t have time for self-indulgent feelings of sadness for a situation I cannot change, or the frustration and anger mixed up in the sense of helplessness as I watch someone I love drowning in shallow water they could easily stand up in. And yet it seems those feelings found me, having bided their time, and caught me defenseless whilst sleeping. The pain seeped through the cracks of the protective layers carefully constructed, winding their way round my heart and squeezing it until the tears rolled down my face as I let go of illusions of bravery and stoic aspirations.

Sometimes it’s too hard to stay strong relentlessly, so I sat with the sadness awhile; unfolding the layers, feeling the textures, seeing the flaws I cannot correct, the worn fibres and stubborn stains. I bunched the anger and grief up in my fists, then smoothed out the wrinkles of frustration and regrets, I poured salt water on historic wounds and wished it had all been different. Time passed and tears ran out, and suddenly I became aware of my breath and the rest of the day waiting patiently. So I sighed deeply and accepted things the way they are, that the changes I cannot make are not my responsibility and that no matter how hard that is to believe, it’s an immovable fact, with no way through, round it or over it. And I saw the day with all it’s potential, the preparation I must make and the progress beckoning. So I carefully folded away those feelings I couldn’t ignore, and having examined and accepted them, put them back in the drawer. Today I will be gentle, I will not expect too much of myself or pretend that I am stronger than I am, but I will be brave and I will not dwell on the pain anymore. If you’re feeling tender too, please be kind to yourself, you can be stronger and productive tomorrow. Blessings & love Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words Hayley Darby ©2013}

Wishes

dandelion

I wish ..
I wish I was braver.
I wish you laughter.
I wish it were simple.
I wish I understood more.
I wish everyone had dignity.
I wish your dreams come true.
I wish I could make things better.
I wish you happiness in your heart.
I wish you someone special to love.
I wish you courage in the darkness.
I wish broken hearts mended quickly.
I wish you could see the opportunities.
I wish you knew you are truly beautiful.
I wish that the world was a kinder place.
I wish you gentleness when life is harsh.
I wish people smiled more & grumbled less.
I wish I had a magic wand to right the wrongs.
I wish that you knew how much you mean to me.
I wish that people could see beyond insecurity to appreciate beauty.
I wish you love..
~Hxx

Hayley Darby ©2011

I am often asked about this post, and just found it! So sorry for the delay for everyone who requested it! ♥ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Heartbreak

heart break

Hearts break, that’s just what they do. Lungs breathe, livers detoxify, stomachs digest, brains think (from time to time), and hearts break, and ache, and bleed inside, they drive us insane with questions we can’t answer; oh yes, and they pump blood too! I think maybe our hearts break to teach us things that we’re too stubborn to take from the brain, whose teaching is logical, which our hearts aren’t at all. At least I like to think they break for a reason, that the pain we feel isn’t all for nothing, because wouldn’t that be an awful waste? I think my heart first broke to teach me humility, kindness and compassion, that relationships aren’t easy and shouldn’t be taken for granted, and that probably loving myself was a big part of the equation. Well I wish it was just the one, tough, terrible lesson; but it seems I had more to learn, because I somehow kept enrolling in that same class, and managed to flunk it again and again.

I believe our hearts are fragile for a reason, so that we know to handle with great care and respect, those of others that we are given. I suspect that hearts break to teach us resilience; so that we come to understand that once they’ve been busted and hurt and trodden in the dirt, that they will scrape themselves together eventually, dust themselves down, and hopefully be brave enough to risk it all again. Because the amazing thing about hearts is, that no matter how bruised and battle scarred they get, they have an amazing capacity to keep on working, and will love indefinitely if we let them.

I think hearts break to show us that no matter how bad it seems, that love is stronger than the worst we can imagine, and then we can truly appreciate what a wonderful gift we have been given. So please don’t hide your heart away, or protect it too tightly for fear of pain, because hearts are masters of recovery, and each time they show us a different reason for whatever they drag us through. Have a little faith, be brave, because yes, hearts break, but they keep on loving

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Love..

kiss bench

Love isn’t practical or rational or sensible or convenient.. in fact it’s often rather disruptive and awkward and if you’re really lucky it turns your world upside down and inside out and gets you into all sorts of trouble, none of which really matters of course, when you’re in love. You know it’s love when it’s at least slightly insane, completely ridiculous, totally inappropriate. It often seems to happen when it’s least expected, when life really doesn’t need any more complications or extra stuff that needs figuring, especially all those feelings of fear and vulnerability that accompany the faster heartbeat and weakness at the knees. It can cause you to stumble and question all the other aspects of your life that you thought were important, and you may wonder why suddenly all that seemed so clear and gave you direction, starts to feel uncertain and full of elements requiring procrastination. Chances are you’ll fall for someone who’s not at all ‘your type’, who doesn’t come close to meeting the criteria you thought was important, and who fails to tick most of those boxes, even if you didn’t realize you had any. Someone who at first didn’t seem like a threat to your sanity, will find a way to your heart when you weren’t paying attention, simply because your defences were down and let you be yourself rather than the persona you think will be more attractive. They will be the reason you are distracted, lose your appetite, can’t wipe the dirty big grin off your face or sleep at night. When life throws you this particular curve ball and you’re feeling unsettled and unsure, I want you to know that nothing is certain, except that love is what we’re here for, whether we’re being knocked over by it, or we’re struggling to survive it, or our hearts are bleeding, or we’re hoping, somewhere we’re afraid to admit, that it will happen again. Love can grow and evolve, and as it develops it’s strength lies in its ability to shine in the dark, and brighten up the ordinary. Because love isn’t all roses, or easy, or even logical, but it is the most important thing. The most wonderful thing that will happen to you in your lifetime will be love, in one form or another, be brave, embrace it, take any chance you have for it! Here’s some love from me to send you in the right direction : )) Happy Valentines day ♥ Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}

Happy Valentines Day xx

love birds

Happy Valentines day!! I’m wishing you lots of love, not necessarily the cards and flowers kind of love, but the love that you feel because someone believes in you, somebody supports your dreams and cares about the things that you do. I hope you have the love that has seen you at your worst, but keeps on loving you; and that the love that sees your best and bursts with pride for you. I hope that someone cares about the little things, and notices when you’re not 100%, and is there with support instead of criticism, and really listens to your problems, giving empathy and hugs rather than advice and solutions. I hope that you are loved so that you feel the strength of someone beside you, and the courage that facing things together can give you. I hope that your smile is someone’s favourite view and that your laughter is their favourite sound too. I hope someone makes you sparkle, even on the days it’s especially hard to do, but that someone knows the way to your heart even when you’re obscuring the view. I hope that you are loved for who you are; that somebody can see beyond your appearance and achievements to appreciate the soul that resides within. I hope that you are loved for your kindness, compassion and understanding, for your courage, integrity and generosity, rather than the way you look, the job you do, or the car you drive; I hope people can see beyond your achievements to appreciate the personal qualities that helped you reach them. I hope that you have a love that gives you a reason to smile every single day, and makes something in your heart sing. I hope that you love enough to let that love in too.. Happy Valentines day ♥ With love & kisses, Hxx

{Artwork sadly uncredited, via Pinterest}