Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Evil Eye

Each time I return to Greece I am acutely aware of the latest fashions--and not just because Greek shoes are small packages of amazing art, but because on my very first trip I immediately recognized that my American clothes made me stand out like a sore thumb. If you want to blend into any foreign culture, one of the first steps is to dress like the natives. Fortunately, it wasn't too long before my first Greek boyfriend was dressing me in his t-shirts.

Additionally, like the clothes, accessories change each year. Sunglasses are the first that you notice. The Greek sun is so extremely strong that the first time you get tricked into thinking those clouds are most certainly going to produce rain and you leave this essential accessory behind, you not only pay dearly with blinding eye pain, but future cataracts and racial wrinkles as well.

This year, I noticed that every one of my Greek girlfriends was wearing a evil eye pendant. Any of you who have traveled to Greece, or eastward, have undoubtedly noticed blue eyes everywhere. The eye is all over Greece, and where it's not, there's blue. Did you ever wonder about those brightly blue painted windows and doors? The blue provides protection. I forgot this fact when I purchased my first--I thought, rather cool--handmade silver eye pendant...until my Greek friend asked me if perhaps my pendant was from the Middle East. I, affronted, replied, "What do you mean: It was handmade by a jeweler from Thessaloniki!" He asked,"Where's the blue?" and I realized that in my haste to make the necklace match the rest of my apparel I had changed the colored cord from blue to brown. So I went out the next night and bought a real blue evil eye pendant and hastily hung it on the cord, too. (I wonder--are two eyes better than one? I hope that isn't bad luck...)

When I ran into my girlfriend in Athens (while shopping in Zara, of course), noticed her eye pendant, and commented that everyone was wearing them this year, she said, "Well, we certainly need it!"

So, I thought again about the evil eye, about the protective quality assigned to certain shades of blue. I had always teased my Dutch friend that I didn't need to wear an eye when I was with her, because her eyes are one of those extraordinary blues. It was a great form of entertainment--observing the Greeks' reaction to her--something between shock and reverence. Anyway, she didn't make the trip this year--so I was on my own. But there is something soothing about an entire country that recognizes the power of thought and intention, that recognizes the harm that we do to one another by our mere thoughts, that acknowledges the role of evil and ill will in our world--or the consequences of bad intent coupled with ignorance.

This is a culture that recognizes our energetic connection and our power to shift our focus from jealousy, anger, and cruelty to forgiveness, thanks and blessings. It is refreshing to not have to explain this connection; the Greeks already acknowledge its existence and its impact on their everyday lives. I often wonder how different our world would be if we, as individuals, acknowledged this tremendous power and responsibility we carry. We have an incredible capability to affect others for ill or for good.

And, yes, I have placed a blue eye just about everywhere...just in case.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Internet, Unplugged

Wouldn't you rather be looking at this than your computer display?

If you've joined me on the path to twitter addiction (see Are You a Tweetaholic?) then I'm happy to report that I've found a cure. Travel to a place sans internet access. Yes, that means no Wi-Fi. I traveled to Athens. You're thinking but surely there's free Wi-Fi access in Athens? Yes, there is--in Syndagma (Constitution Square), which is not as convenient as walking across the room and flipping on my modem, not as quiet as my apartment, and certainly not devoid of distractions. But what about Flo-Cafe or other spots that, for the price of an icy frappe, provide free internet access? Well, just arrange for your brand new mini laptop to display a "fatal error" message within the first thirty minutes of Athenian use. That's enough to scare an unsecure internet connection out of you.

So, now I'm left with a thirty minute walk in 98 degree weather Monday through Friday, only, to the Centre, where I took my Greek lessons, to use their computer or infrequent (paid) usage at the Internet Cafe. Since I'd rather spend my euros on food rather than tweets, I think I'll stick with no access for awhile.

Add no TV (which I thought I was also missing my first night here when I tried repetitively to get the little red power light to go on...and then remembered that I had to press the channel button after the power button,) and you're all set. Easy enough if you're renting a room and not staying in a hotel. Skip major hotels, by-the-way, because they have free Wi-Fi as well.
So, without Twitter, Facebook, 100-plus e-mails awaiting you in your five different accounts, and no access to your websites, blogs or Skype...just what will you do with all of your time? Let's see, I've been here two days and. besides sleep (at very strange hours and intervals), I've managed to go to the supermarket, exchaange money at the bank (a feat in itself), purchase a pair of sandals (okay, yes, my other addiction), visit three friends at the Centre, joined a couple of other friends for coffee, visited outside of town with a couple and their new baby, and meet up with a former boyfriend. That's more socializing than I normally accomplish in several months...but, then, Greece is an extremely social country.

So folks, sometimes it takes going to the extreme to tear yourself away from that addiction. Just say no! Or get rid of the TV or the internet connection...or travel to Greece!