Life on the Hydra Island

Fortunately or unfortunately I have reached the stage in my life where if I am presented with any chance to remotely control anything, I grab it. I am always made aware of this fact every time a waiter asks me if I would prefer still or sparkling water. I know that I will always opt for still but I always find myself relishing the possibility of choosing sparkling- practice makes perfect. Recently, I found myself after a very long spell of traveling, sitting at my kitchen table for three consecutive nights into the trembling hours of three or four am. I thought that maybe it was just a dull bout of insomnia, but after several sessions of indulgent analysis I realized that I was clearly suffering from an aversion to my bed, and bedroom. I just did not want to go into the space, the energy felt sharp yet sticky, heavy yet ethereal-there was just a "bad vibe". In light of my new behavioral preference i decided that I had to make a choice, either to move out or do something about this energetic black hole that had emerged in the sanctity of my resting place. Clearly moving out was not an option so I turned to my favorite method of clearing bad energy from places: Salt.

Salt has various uses across the world, some more known than others. Various ocean products have been uses for centuries to heal, preserve, flavor and also to ward of evil spirits of all sorts. The first time i came across the transcendental use of salt was when I was growing up in Spain, when in midst conversation with a Spanish friend, she took some salt from the salt shaker on the table and threw it over her left shoulder whilst muttering that she was: "throwing salt in the eye of the devil." I guess salt has fascinated me ever since.

My room has in recent years unfortunately -- but I am sure not abnormally -- been the scene of many heartbreaking chapters. These include attempts to save failing relationships, finding out about my father's death, and being the backdrop to the marriage proposal of my recently deceased ex-fiancée. Overall, I think that tonight as I look around me, there is no doubt that if I am to move forward into any form of joy, this room needs to be cleared, the energy needs to be cleansed and encouraged to move on. All these memories remind me that recently I visited the salt mine in Hallstatt, Austria and followed what is called 'the trail of the man in salt.' The story revolves around the discovery by three miners in April 1734 of an astonishingly well preserved corpse of a man believed to be the victim of a mining accident around 1000 BC. Before that I had only really been aware of preserving fish in salt, but I guess a man and a fish aren't miles apart? I need to dissolve all these men, and fast. I am tired but I go to work.

I make the decision that the best thing to do is to dowse all the corners of my room with salt. I hastily gather all the salt in the house and proceed to sprinkle it with gusto. I am filled with excitement and that sense of empowerment that overwhelms you when you're very clear about what you do and don't want- I am sure that I have no interest of holding on to the past for it has taught ame all I have to or care to learn (at least for now). Ten minutes later my marble floors are sparkling with all types of salt: pink salt, table salt, extra-large rock sea salt, cheap iodized salt, bath salts. I especially ensure that around my bed the floor is covered in the stuff- I have no desire for lurking bad karma around that area anymore, thank you very much. Suddenly, as I am admiring my floors I find myself struck with a horrific thought, what does salt do to marble? I quickly run to my computer and fearing the worst I type in 'marble and salt', and of course there it is: "salt on marble is really not a very good idea, especially anywhere near water..." And as I look outside at the sodden spring sky, I realize that it may have been a good idea to look this fact up first.

Resigned, I grab my broom and start clearing up all the salt from the floors, but very quickly my self-pity turns into fits of giggles, which quickly progress into full-blown laughter aimed at myself and my flawed belief that I could somehow control anything, anytime, anywhere -- I thought I could just clean away all the memories, feelings, dreams in one huge salt bath, and instead all I have done is create a salt mine and made myself salty and sweaty trying to save my beautiful floors from being stained. I mean, is that not the way life is? You think you can transmute things in ten minutes that have taken a lifetime to accumulate, and also do it without any regard to where you are actually standing in the present. The here and right now and the choice you always have to not dwell in the past or future.

After my totally failed attempt to exercise choice I decide to call the whole thing an experiment, and I walk out into my garden, breathe in the scent of Greek lavender and look out into the sea -- the true repository of the world.