I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the concept of postcards. As well as the somewhat insincere sentiment of ‘Wish You Were Here’… (to which the just response should be ‘Well Why the F**k Didn’t You Ask Me To Come In The First Place Then, Eh?’), what’s with our tradition of sending a lovely picture of an amazing place to everyone who’s stuck at home working and saying “Look At Me In This Amazing Place Having a Whale of a Time. By The Way, Hope Things Are Okay Back In That Rainy Grim Place”?
Really? Really? Then invite me next time!
This is all by way of an apologetic preface to my telling you what a fabulous time we’re currently having on the volcanic island of Stromboli. The one difference, I suppose, is that I’m not writing to gloat – but to genuinely say, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and, ‘Hope You Can Join Us Next Year’.
I realised this week that I’d never really written about the joys of Stromboli, from Stromboli. Well, I am leading a Qigong Retreat here this week. And, this is the beach on which we did Qigong this morning –
And Stromboli in itself is a fabulous place. But mix it with Qigong and the accompanying blissful state that we regularly reach, and it’s like amplifying the awesomeness of the place.
Imagine a nice view. Like this one from the terrace of our on-the-beach hotel –
Then imagine being so relaxed you can hardly move;
– So that the breeze on your skin feels delicious.
– So the sounds of the sea take you back to the best childhood holiday you ever had.
– So the voices of the Italians on the balcony bring up the romance of Italy and the beautiful, relaxed people and the food and the… well, you know.
– So even the movement of your own breath feels like a blissful massage.
Yes, and Stromboli.
The difficult-to-find coves.
The hot sand.
Swimming in the silky, blue, warm sea.
Wandering the quiet alleys lined with dreamy, white-washed, blue-doored houses, everything framed with bright blossom. Night, under the stars, as there are no street-lights, the sound of the crashing waves being the constant accompaniment.
And the volcano.
We’re on it. The island IS the volcano. But the craters sitting there up above us. Frequently exploding and billowing ash-smoke up into the photoshopped blue sky.
This week, we’ve started on the beach, and we’ve sat in meditation as the sun has gone down …
And we’ve enjoyed every aspect of southern Italian life –
Like our guests, we’re leaving soon. Back home. We’re sad to say goodbye to this unique island for another year.
But we’ll be back next year for our yearly shot of heaven, and we hope you’ll join us.