ITHAKA

 

Take a leap, even if you don’t know where you will land. Savor the journey to reach your dreams, especially when it feels never-ending. When you feel that something is already yours, you learn to be happy without it and enjoy the process of watching it unfold. When we think of experiences as an adventure and respond with love instead of fear, we have FUN on the roller coaster that is life. We relax our grip and may even throw our arms in the air in sheer bliss. Follow the signs to your destination, but don’t worry about how or when you will get there.

I am so happy to share this poem that carries this message in such an eloquent way. I often send it to my clients, reminding them that they will most often find something even better than what they expected when they surrender to the opportunity to realign with their soul and define their goals. Anything is possible when we understand why it is that we want it.

ITHAKA

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
 
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
 
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
 
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
 
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)