Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ithaka

You may recall that I'm re-reading Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. (And yes, I did go ahead and buy the electronic version too. Now if I forget to do my meditative reading first thing in the morning, I can do it whenever I remember--on the IPAQ.)

The December 30 meditation is about Ithaka, the home of the Greek hero, Odysseus. As you may recall, he spent many years trying to return to Ithaka after he'd served in the Trojan War. (Amazingly, I do remember this. Thank you, English 11!) When he finally reached Ithaka, he was a changed man--changed by the journey.

Constantine Peter Cavafy wrote a poem about it, called Ithaka, in the early 1900s, and in Simple Abundance, Sarah shares her adaptation--written especially for women. It really resonated with me, and I hope it will with you. So, with many thanks to Sarah Ban Breathnach...

***

Ithaka

Pray that your journey be long,
full of many summer mornings
when with much pleasure and much joy
you anchor in harbors never seen before;
Browse through Phoenician markets,
to purchase exquisite treasures--
mother-of-pearl and coral, ebony and amber
and sensual perfumes of all kinds--
as much as you desire.
Visit many Egyptian cities, content
to sit at the feet of sages, eager
and open to receive learning.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is your destiny.
But do not hurry the journey at all; be patient.
Better that it lasts for many years--
longer than you can even imagine.
So that finally, when you reach this
sacred isle, you will be a wise woman,
abundantly fulfilled by all you have gained along the way;
no longer expecting Ithaka to make you wealthy,
no longer needing Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka offered you the profound journey,
the chance to discover the woman you have always been.
Without Ithaka as your inspiration, you
never would have set out in search of wholeness.

And should you find her poor, Ithaka did not deceive you.
Authentic as you have become, full of wisdom, beauty and grace,
enriches and enlightened by all you have experienced,
You will finally understand what all of life's Ithakas truly mean.

***

If you are on a journey to your own personal Ithaka--I call mine Magdalenaville, but oh well--take a look at the Simple Abundance website. You could definitely lay in some good provisions there.

Magdalena



1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Magdalena. Reminds us all that there is joy in the journey... not just the arrival. Thanks for this.

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