For the past year, I’ve gotten up each morning and looked at my suitcase. She sits expectantly on my luggage rack reminding me 2020 was to be my Year of Travel and Adventure. We’ve mourned that loss together. Her mere presence brings back memories of people, experiences, laughter, discovery and pure delight.
In those moments, the physical and emotional yearning to sit, once again, in a piazza sipping cappuccino with a large dish of Stracciatella gelato – well, that yearning has become almost unbearable. So as a way to appease my wanderlust, I offer this story for all the travel gypsies trapped at home.
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I first met my spirit guide during a visualization exercise several years ago. I think she’d been trying to get my attention for years and I was finally ready to meet her. She emerged from a frothy sea-green ocean in a shimmering white dress wafting across the waves. I recognized her immediately as my personal version of Athena, goddess of war and wisdom. Notably, her dress was not wet because she was, after all, a magical goddess. Her golden belt, cinched firmly at her waist, looked comfortably worn. Across her back was a deeply-etched hawthorn bow. A quiver full of white feathered arrows peaked over her shoulder. This was not ornamentation. She was a working goddess and had arrived on my shore with a purpose. She crossed the beach exuding strength and elegance. Her bare feet left no prints in the warm fine-grained sand.
From an aquamarine pouch on her hip, she pulled a golden heart. It was emitting tractor beams of light and a warmth I could only describe as unconditional love. I thought she would give me the choice to accept it. Instead, she placed it firmly in my chest. I felt it pulse through my body and the inner light slowly rotated outward. I watched as my heart began throwing out wide beams of light like a lighthouse searching for lost vessels. I felt complete.
Athena smiled as she looked into my eyes. She laid her hand on my heart and in a voice that rang like earth bells intoned, “Go. Go. Go.” A command with such urgency I nodded my assent without hesitation. As is the way of visualizations, I also thought how much I adored her succinct use of language. There was no ambiguity here.
Satisfied, she turned back to the ocean. At the water’s edge, she looked over her shoulder with a twinkle in her eye and added a second instruction. “Don’t stop until you find the perfect gelato.” With that, she vanished. I was left with a heart light radiating from my chest and a quest to find gelato.
The first mission, to embrace my heart light as a way to find and help others see their path, was clear. I set about choosing each day to make myself a blessing to everyone I meet in service to creating connections, community and consciousness. I try not to worry about success of that mission. I trust the intent will guide me. Occasionally, Athena returns to urge me along. Like when she arrived after my second Reiki attunement, declaring, “So much more to do!” She isn’t a whisperer. She’s not shy. I love that about her. She’s leading me by example. Be bold. Be clear. Go, go, go.
I’ve come to terms with her first mission. It’s the second one that has puzzled me over the years. Yet, I’m not one to disobey a goddess of war with a quiver full of arrows and a demeanor that indicates she would use them, if necessary. So, along my journey, I’ve searched for that elusive perfect gelato.
Dark chocolate on a park bench in Seville watching a child full of giggles chase butterflies and bubbles. Hazelnut and blackberry, the Florentine version of PB&J, strolling past a carousel full of locals bobbing up and down on colorful horses. Traditional stracciatella in the late-night stillness of a plaza in Granada, guitars playing softly in the distance. Simple vanilla in a small patch of shade after whale watching in Tarifa, gazing across rough waters to Morocco. The list is long. The moments deeply imprinted. Each time, I questioned, “Is this the perfect one?”
What I’ve come to realize is that my dear Athena is also the goddess of wisdom and boy is there a lot of wisdom to be gained from a simple gelato. Awareness that I need to stop and refuel. Appreciation for the beautiful works of art in the gelato display cases that offer me so many choices. Reflection on who I’m with, where I am and how I want to be in the world.
Athena knew perfection was imperfect, too fleeting to hold on to.
Instead, this was her perfect invitation to stay . . . stay . . . stay.
Stay just long enough to refuel my heart light and savor the sweetness of life before, once again, I go, go, go.