When the weather warms up and summer beckons my thoughts return to the country I grew up in-Greece. From May to October, my high school friends and I usually were on the Greek islands. Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, Paros, Ios, Santorini, Skiathos-all lovely islands all with different charms all sharing the fabulous Greek sunlight described by American author Henry Miller in his great travel book, Colossus of Maroussi 2006_04_01.html
Our personal discovery adventure to Greece is conducted in this beautiful area of the world.
In 1964 when I was 14, we were visiting a friend of my parents, a local Greek priest, to celebrate Orthodox Easter on the island of Paros. During our 10 day stay one day my family decided to take a car tour of the island. Right about lunchtime, we happened on a very small fishing village, sparsely populated, with beautiful beaches, Aliki. As we walked out to the tip of the village and past the houses, the story goes, I pointed to my father and then to the land we stood on, three-quarters of which was surrounded by the Aegean, and I “pronounced”, ‘Dad, if you buy land in Greece you should buy this land’. My father then turned and went back to the village, found the owner negotiated a price ($650 dollars!) and the small parcel of land was ours. (Of course, depending on the day and the frustrations my father faced building a house on the island, my words were considered by him as prophetic or very regrettable! Of course, I would wonder what on earth was he doing listening to a 14 year anyway!)
Many years have past, my father has passed away, the house he built has aged, however the house has seen and taken care of many members of my extended family and friends for years. The village has grown but it still is a fishing village. The characters that populated the village have grown old and now their children are replacing them in many of the same roles. In my adult life, I have used Aliki, Paros as my retreat and place to think and dream, to do personal planning, over the future without the hassles of my hectic life. In the past few years, I have even invited executives and leaders, my coaching clients to take part in Vision Development workshops. The workshops gave me a chance to share Aliki with others and give others an opportunity to take a break, think about oneself, and envision themselves anew.
We all need spaces that we can reliably reinvigorate ourselves, reduce and manage our stress and anxiety, to remind ourselves of what is important. I hope you have a Aliki in your life!
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