From San Francisco to Athens: Where Life Actually Started (Part I)

There might be a drop of Europeanism in Lynn's heredity, extracted from the first four years of her life in Munich due to her father's work in the defense industry. But Lynn was raised American, and she certainly identifies herself as one.
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As a Certified Public Accountant and a CFO for a venture capital firm, Lynn's life in San Francisco was a lot like everyone's normal life - structured and work oriented. But it's one thing being comfortable with your life, it's another thing to feel blissful and energized because you are on track.

Lynn Roulo's heartwarming smile lingers regardless of the subject she discusses -- a manipulative ex-boyfriend and a perilous move to Boston or her biggest passions: Kundalini yoga and the study of the enneagram system. She is benign, enjoys good company and is full of life: "I want you to be happy and start doing what you are here to do" she wishes to the world. How could we possibly remain aseptic to such a genuine call?

An invitation to Greece

There might be a drop of Europeanism in Lynn's heredity, extracted from the first four years of her life in Munich due to her father's work in the defense industry. But Lynn was raised American, and she certainly identifies herself as one.

Greece didn't just happen in a flash, but it was a gradual instinctive sentiment -- the aftermath of the beginning of a spiritual journey.

I decided to start Kundalini yoga because I was going through a breakup and I was in a lot of pain. I hadn't even heard of Kundalini yoga before but a friend told me that this is how she got through her divorce. So, I managed through my first class. The teacher was in his 60s with a white beard and a white turban, and I was like: 'What is this?' But I felt much better after the class, and I said to myself: 'I don't know what just happened but I will keep doing it.' I got through the not-feeling-well-period, but I was curious. So, I decided to do the teacher training.

Two years later, the thoughts to come to Athens started to flare. Overall, she has no regular connection to Greece -- no Greek descendants, no man or a job to tie her in with the country, yet there was something clear in her mind about living in Athens.

Lynn travelled to Greece two times within 2011, before she started looking in the visa application, researching travelling with animals, putting her car up for sale and renting her apartment out.

When she talks about the pet psychic she hired a week before she and her three pets left San Francisco, Roxie the dog makes an appearance. Maybe she is trying to tell us that the 15-hour-flight in a cargo is a fodder for another article, but for her to be with Lynn, she would do anything.

Lynn steps in:

I wasn't exactly sure what my plan was going to be, but I figured that out when I got to Athens -- this time for good. I feel that my life started the moment I got on the plane to leave San Francisco. I love San Francisco. I have nothing bad to say about it, but I feel like this is my life, and that other thing was sort of a shadow of my life.

Under the Parthenon, is this an option?

During the summer and when the evenings are mild (it's Greek weather we are talking about), Lynn's yoga community meets on her roof deck -- right under the Parthenon -- for some asanas, deep relaxation and to relish one of the most stunning views in the world.

"Kundalini yoga gives emphasis on the breath, the nervous system and meditation. In my experience, it's one of the fastest paths to health and happiness" she says.

Lynn's yoga classes are seminal, and the Athenians are being hooked after their first time. As the group has grown to 20, she is looking at spaces in the neighbourhood of Plaka for the winter sessions.

Yoga in its initial form is a technology for enlightenment and for consciousness, and everyone deserves access to that. To me, yoga is medicine, and I don't want people to not be able to have medicine because they can't afford it. In Greece things are hard, people are really struggling. That's why I want to keep the donation classes going. And it creates a different vibration around it. People come in with a different feeling.

But yoga isn't the only skill that Lynn brought with her from oversees.

Currently she is writing a guidebook combining the enneagram system of psychology and Kundalini yoga -- a practice to identify the strengths of your personality and share them with the world. Lynn got into the study of the enneagram 20 years ago in a completely arbitrary way -- she liked the cover of the book and she picked it.

I had that book and at the same time I was dating a guy who turned up to be a pathological liar. He was stealing money from me. I was in my 20s, I was in Boston and I didn't know a lot of people. It was quite dramatic. Enneagram was helpful because I could figure out what his type was and his behaviour started to make sense. It didn't excuse it, but I could imagine what was going on in his head. I healed a lot faster.

Once per month a cocktail party happens in Lynn's home. It's an interactive event that uses the enneagram as a tool for compassion. One of the nine enneagram types narrates the theory of their nature, and Lynn facilitates a discussion.

I feel that almost all of the conflict that we have in the world is because we don't understand each other. If we could know what's going in someone's heart and head we wouldn't have big issues. So, this takes us a step closer to that.

The chat with Lynn about her work with the refugees in Greece, fate vs. destiny and overcoming yourself, continues in Part II.

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