Swimming and other ways of being in the water

Day 29

Krios beach, Paros

Different people approach the water in different ways.  There are those who go into the sea just to rinse and cool off.  Others go in with water mattresses and float around.  Some people actually swim.  My favorite are the groups of middle aged and beyond Greek women wearing hats who go way beyond the shore and kind of hover together and talk and talk and talk.  From a distance they look like floating heads.

Krios beach, Paros

Recently I read reviews about a book entitled “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do” that I’m curious to read.

Krios beach, Paros

There is no life without water. And maybe that’s why we are so attracted to being near the sea. The author, Wallace J. Nichols, claims that the nearness of water stimulates our brain by releasing dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.  Up to 60% of the adult body is composed of water and for the brain it’s about 80%.  So being near the water is like being nearer to ourselves.

Krios beach, Paros

The sea offers other rewards. The color blue is relaxing and the frequency caused by the waves is good for our personal vibratory level. Furthermore, water gazing permits our mind to drift so we are present but relaxed.  Water, says Nichols, meditates you.

Krios beach, Paros

Being around water isn’t enough.  You have to drink it, too. Water helps keep your flow.  This means moving oxygen around and sending blood to your tissues. Water also lubricates your joints and keeps you from feeling stiff. And, of course, water helps you eliminate toxins and solid wastes. And if you suffer from fatigue, this could mean that you’re dehydrated.

Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning has many health benefits such as balancing the lymph system purifying the colon and renewing cells.

Krios beach, Paros

Today’s mantra comes from Alexi Murdoch’s “Blue Mind”.


I’m drifting. I’m drifting. I’m drifting. I’m drifting.


Related links:  HydromancyLook at the crowds of water-gazers there. Melville  + Whale Song + The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare

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Boat People

Day 28

Paros, Krios beach

Krios beach, Paros

At the end of the beach on Krios is a small cement pier used for the boat that brings people from Parikia.  Not everyone prefers to arrive on foot like I do. These people disembark  in groups carrying bags, chairs, umbrellas and other beach paraphernalia. They look like refugees so I call them the Boat People. But I chide myself for this because these tourists have nothing at all in common with real refugees.

boat to krios

boat to Krios

Before there were cars, there were boats.  Maritime history goes  back thousands of years. The oldest recovered boat is a dugout canoe dating c. 8,000 BC.  But there are rock carvings in Azerbaijan dating 10,000 BC  showing reed boats. Who knows when the first boat was made.

boat at Krios

boat at Krios

Boats have had a tremendous impact on the evolution of civilization.  They permitted people to migrate and settle other lands. And this migration made inter-relating so much more complex.

From the land, I look towards the sea and see only a subtle line that divides the water from the sky. The horizon is seemingly so poetic. From afar.  However, the idea of getting in a boat and sailing towards that line swallowed by blue makes me feel queasy.

Blue Star towards Paros

Blue Star ferry towards Paros

At one point or another, we learn to navigate. Often we need help.  Sailors had the stars and then the compass.  And, eventually, experience.

Daily life is a kind of sea.  And navigating it isn’t always easy. That’s why I count on my ideals to give me a direction.

Lampedusa migration

Drastic action needed to prevent more migrants dying in boat tragedies

boat people from vietnam

Vietnamese Boat People

Sri Lanka’s boat people


Today’s mantra comes from Cristopher Cross.  Cross, from San Antonio like me, released his debut album at the time when I left Texas for Europe.  The song is “Sailing” and the reappropriation comes from the phrase “Fantasy, it gets the best of me”.


Fantasy keeps me free. OM. Fantasy keeps me free.


Related links: Prehistoric Craft, history of boats + Christopher Cross Sailing Lyrics + world’s oldest boatyard + A History of the Magnetic Compass + Stone Age petroglyphs at Gobustan + Noah’s Ark

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Suntans and Sandcastles


Day 27

Krios beach

Krios beach, Paros

Krios beach, Paros

The beach means different things to  different people.  For me, it’s the sand beneath my feet, the sound of the waves and the smell of sea air.  However, for others it means dedicating one’s time to ephemeral activities such as sunbathing and building sandcastles.

Camping at Krios beach

Camping at Krios beach

I consider sunbathing an ephemeral activity in that, despite all the time and effort you dedicate towards getting a tan and all of the hours spent imitating souvlaki on a grill, it rapidly fades away.

suntan drawing by cynthia korzekwa

sandcastles on Paros

Dad helping his little girl build sandcastle

sandcastles on Paros

little boy building alone

There’s a tenderness in seeing young children building sandcastles. They are so focused on making something that will be washed away by the waves. Like sand mandalas that are painstakingly made and then destroyed, sandcastle construction is an example of BE HERE NOW and that it is the process and not the product that gives satisfaction.

I’ve noticed that fathers more so than mothers enjoy participating in the making of sandcastles.

sandcastles on Paros

two friends building together

sandcastles on Paros

the beginning or the end of a castle?

Miltos Pantelias

from Miltos Pantelias’ palimpsest series

Yesterday Pierluigi and I had the great pleasure of meeting with the artists Irini Gonou and Miltos Pantelias at their incredible summer home on Naxos. I have already written about Irini HERE but will do so again this winter as there are some aspects of her work too enchanting to resist. But today I want to mention Miltos’ work.

We get the word “ephemeral” from the Greek “εφήμερος” (ephemeros) which means “lasting only one day”. Miltos’ work hints at fragility yet it transforms the ephemeral into something eternal. His palimpsest series is mesmerizing. A palimpsest is a manuscript page that’s been scraped or washed with milk so it can be used again for something else (ancient recycling). But sometimes, after years of hiding, like a ghost the original writing (scriptio inferior) resurfaces. Miltos’ palimpsests magically seduce the Only One Day and he resuscitates the past to create a new life. Πολύ όμορφη!

Today’s mantra comes from “To Tango tis Nefelis” by Haris Alexiou & Loreena McKennett. It’s the story of Nefeli and two little angels who tried to feed her  pomegranates so she’d forget what she wanted. But Zeus intervened by turning Nefeli into a cloud making it impossible for the angels to find her.

Eating pomegranates caused Persephone a lot of problems. Hades kidnapped her and took her to his underground home. Persephone knew that if she ate or drank anything in the underground world, she would be forced to stay there forever. But after a week of not eating, she lost her willpower and ate a pomegranate. 

Desires are ephemeral. And so is life.


Like a cloud. OM. Like a cloud.

Related links:  Exploring Ephemeral Practices pinterest + The Archimedes Palimpsest pdf + Secrets of the Page: Palimpsests

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Grounding at the water’s edge

Day 26

Ειρήνη και Μίλτος, σας ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ για μια υπέροχη μέρα!

When I arrive on the beach at Krios, the first thing I do is take off my shoes.  Since I have to  take my shoes on & off a couple of times during the walk, a big thanks to the inventor of Velcro strap sandals that make this process much easier.

Velcro sandals on Paros

Velcro is a great example of bio-mimicry.  It’s man imitating nature and, in this case, imitating burrs.  If you’re from Texas and walked around barefooted as a child, you know exactly what burrs are!

In 1941, Swiss engineer George de Mestral was taking burrs out of his dog’s hair.  The burrs and the hair were attached so well that Mestral was inspired to use the same technique for something pragmatic and thus invented Velcro.

Krios Beach, Paros

Anyway, back to the beach. Walking barefoot outdoors, known as “grounding”, apparently is very good for us.  Via the soles of our feet, we absorb the earth’s free electrons which are beneficial to our health.  Grounding relieves chronic pain, improves sleep, reduces inflammation, thins the blood and much more.  In other words, the body needs to be connected to the earth.

Krios Beach, Paros

A big problem today is that we are constantly subjected to radiation via our cell phones, computers and Wi-Fi.  Grounding can help counter-attack this electromagnetic field bombardment.

Krios Beach, Paros

Walking on the beach is especially beneficial.  Because the sand provides resistance, you work your foot and leg muscles more.  And because the sand is an uneven surface, your body must react to the constantly changing surface which is good for balance and agility.

Walking on the sand also massages the soles of your feet which activates blood and lymphatic circulation.  Furthermore, walking barefoot on the beach is like taking sandpaper to your feet because the friction of the sand acts as a exfoliate.  Results: soft and smooth feet!

I like walking near the water’s edge and am fascinated by the way the sun reflects on the sea. David Hockney has done many wonderful interpretations the sun reflecting on the water.

David Hockney:

David Hockey

Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool,  1964

David Hockney

California, 1965 via

David Hockney

Vintage: A 1980s lithograph by David Hockney in his California years via

Today’s mantra is “the tide is high but I’m moving on” taken from Blondie’s “The Tide Is High”.


Related links: David Hockney: Early Reflections at the Walker

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Day 25

Krios Arrival

Krios Arrival

 Most every day, Pierluigi accompanies me on my walk up to Livadia.  Generally, I have an idea as to what topic to use for my daily posts regarding these walks.  Pierluigi is a true scholar and like a walking Wikipedia–he knows something just about everything.  So today the topic was “arrival” in reference to the part of my walk when I finally arrive at Krios and I asked Pier if he could tell me anything of a philosophical nature regarding the concept of arrival. So, BOOM, he hits me with Aristole’s  telos (“end”),  the telos being the goal or purpose of  a thing, the final cause. Because an arrival implies an end.

Krios Arrival

Well, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for as the final cause of my walk is not arriving at Krios but what happens in my head while I’m getting there.  The arrival is just a form of measurement—the time it takes for the round-trip of getting there and getting back is the time span I allow myself for thinking and meditating.

Krios, Paros

I would like to be able to BE HERE NOW more often, to live the moment without anticipation.  But it seems that, like most of us, I often live my life here while wanting to be there.

Krios Arrival

Nikos Kazantzakis, known mainly for “Zorba The Greek”, said:

I felt once more how simple a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roasted chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else. And all that is required to feel that here and now is happiness in a simple, frugal heart.

 Krios Arrival


 Krios Arrival


The above foto is of me taken a few years ago.  I still use the same dress, bandana, knapsack and shoes!  Look at the difference in the wall graffiti from then and now.

Arrival at Krios is marked by a house that sits next  to the steps going down towards the beach. There’s a carob tree that doubles as an auditorium for singing cicadas.  Cicadas live about 17 years underground sucking tree sap for their survival.  Then, in a kind of rapture, they all come out in hoards and, from larvae, turn into winged insects.  The males immediately start singing looking for a mate.  The hotter the weather, the louder they sing. After mating, the females deposit their eggs in the tree.  This goes on for about 2-4 weeks and then telos, it’s all over and the cicadas die because they’ve arrived at the final cause.

Krios Arrival, Carob Tree

 the carob tree

There is a well-known mariachi song about the cicada, “La Cigarra” and is the source of today’s mantra.

 I sing happily, sing, sing, happily sing sing.

Related links:  La cigarra Lyrics +Amazing Cicada life cycle video + How To Meditate While You’re Doing Housework
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Ruins and walks

Day 24

Right past the path that goes down towards Krios beach is an archeological ruin.  The sign in front of it says “ αψιδωτο οικοδομημα” (domed building) as well as “édifice absidal” (apsidal building) and nothing else. 

archeology on Paros

Excavations on the nearby island of Saliagos indicate that Paros has been inhabited since 3200 BC. Then around 1200 BC, King Alkeos of Crete sent a group of Minoans to Paros.  The island was named Minoa and, because of its strategic position, was used as a naval station.

Around 1000 BC, the Arcadians arrived and took over the island.  Since they were led by Parios, the island then became known as Paros.

So Paros has a long and animated history. And, for this reason, is archeologically rich.

Probably the earliest cult sanctuaries in Greece were little more than huts.  But these huts eventually evolved into apsidal temples.

archeology on Paros

apsidal temple

I have no knowledge of apsidal temples other than they were constructed by Hindus as well.  Above is a drawing of an apsidal temple at Perachora (Corinth).  It’s possible that the ruins I pass by on my way to Krios  originally looked like something similar.  And with a view of the sea.  image via

wall near Krios

wall at Krios

I’m not sure, but I believe many of the stone walls on Paros use the dry stone method. Dry stone is a form of construction where you  try to interlock stones together like Legos so you don’t need mortar. Apparently, masonry techniques differ from one culture to the next.  A few years ago, there were many Albanians on the island working in construction and their way of setting stones was not the same as that of the Greeks. A hundred years from now, when archeologists will be studying the architecture of today, will this be taken into consideration?

So, with that in mind, today’s mantra comes from Pink Floyd’s “Just Another Brick in The Wall”.

The lyrics are full of “don’t”s which I would like to avoid. However, “We don’t need no thought control”  makes me think of the need to nourish our thoughts.



Nourish my thoughts. OM. Nourish my thoughts.

related links:  About the history of Paros + Another Brick in the Wall meaning + Parios, the singer, who lives on Paros

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Crisscrossing it

Day 23

Promontory, Paros

Promontory, Paros

Much has been written about the Left-Right Brain Theory. The brain is divided into two hemispheres which are connected by the corpus collosum, a bundle of neural fibers. In general, the left deals with the verbal whereas the right with the visual. Obviously,  these two hemispheres are complementary and therefore must communicate with one another.

Promontory, Paros

Promontory, Paros

In the very entertaining book, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, authors Barbara and Allan Pease explain how men’s brains are wired differently that women’s brains.  These differences are a result of roles established during prehistoric times.  For example, since men were hunters, they developed a kind of tunnel vision because they had to  focus on the prey. Whereas women, who stayed at home and had do chores while simultaneously keeping an eye on the children, developed a broad peripheral vision.

Another interesting observation they make is that women’s brain’s hemispheres, via the corpus collosum, more readily communicate one with the other than do men’s.

Promontory, Paros

Promontory, Paros

Some research has indicated that people suffering from dyslexia did little or no crawling at all as babies and thus didn’t develop a certain kind of brain coordination.  Because the crisscross motion of crawling forces one part of the brain to communicate with the other part.

Promontory, Paros

Promontory, Paros

Skipping is a great brain exercise because it requires the two hemispheres of the brain to work together.  Since the left brain controls the right foot and vice versa, the hemispheres are forced to collaborate.

But walking can also help the hemispheres communicate.  When, in opposing directions, you swing your arms back and forth, you make a crisscross motion that’s good for brain coordination.

Towards Livadia, Paros

The samba has some good criss cross action.  So today’s mantra comes from Sergio Mendes’ “Magalenha” and comes from the phrase “Hoje é um dia de sol, alegria de xodó, meu dever de verão” which translates as “Today is a day of sun, happiness of xodó, my task for the summer”.Xodò is difficult to translate but basically refers to something that you really care about. And it’s pronounced sho’-doh-ah.


Alegria de xodó, xodó, xodó. Om. Xodó.

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