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Thursday, January 15, 2015

When you start on your journey to Ithaca

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.
-K. P. Kavafis (C. P. Cavafy), translation by Rae Dalven

My Parisienne friend and I were the recipients of this poem yesterday. The sender is a fellow ex-pat who no doubt was thinking of the pilgrimage Miss Paris took last year, and the trials and joys of that journey both physically and spiritually. 

In a perhaps unrelated event Miss Paris also recently took a leap of faith, deciding to trust the universe just a little and to assume that most things will work out reasonably well, even if she is not constantly supporting all world events with her active worrying. By the way the first time she tried it she was rewarded grandly; she did not give the possible negative outcome the energy required to manifest. She did not allow the beast to accompany her. And the result was positive.

The poem is so powerful that I immediately sent it to another friend, who just yesterday discovered within an apparently squandered day a possible new approach to his creative pursuits. Once again choosing to trust the journey brought the best possible result.

I have shared the first verse which also reminds me of my favourite Cormac McCarthy line:

"A creature cannot learn that which his heart has no shape to hold." 

It is possible that our deepest fear is not of others, but that beast we carry with us on our journey. 

In the midst of the shock waves still rippling through Paris following the terrorist attacks I am comforted by this poem, and by my belief that whatever we focus on grows more powerful. A conscious effort of peace and trust in the greater humanity may be our only real protection. 

For a special treat listen to Sean Connery read Ithaca in the link below

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