I made a promise to myself before leaving the Netherlands. I had a list of things that I really wanted to do and I promised myself I would try to do those things. After discovering the local park, I decided I wanted to photograph both the sun set as the sun rise here. Determined to hold on to the promise to myself, G and I took the dogs and ventured out on a lovely afternoon to capture the setting of the sun. As it was slowly setting, I jokingly said goodbye to the sun, thanking it for today and welcoming it back for tomorrow. G said “Saluto al sole”, which means saluting the sun, or saying goodbye to the sun. It’s a famous yoga pose and G told me that it means giving the sun all the negative energy, letting go of all the bad to start anew the next day. Like a cleanse or a fresh start. Starting a new day every day, not thinking about yesterday, not worrying about tomorrow, merely living the wondrous present.
I had to look it up, but there’s a saying (or mantra, if you will) that goes with the yoga pose and it goes as follows – “I salute the sun, I open my heart to everyone. The sun rises and the sun sets. The whole world in my heart rests. Again I rise, ready to live, happy to be and ready to give. Sun, sun, I salute the sun. I open my heart to everyone.”
I like the idea of the sending all the negative things to the sun – the sun, being so powerful and fierce – and it consuming all of it. That orb of fire burning right through it, making all the bad disappear and, in a way, allowing myself to be cleansed. I think that essentially, this is exactly like the phoenix. I’ve been wanting to have a phoenix tattooed on the back of my arm and along with the Indian, would complete my upper sleeve. I’ve always held a certain fascination with the phoenix, but then again, shouldn’t everyone? A simple bird bursting into flames at the end of his life, only to give life. It’s ‘Life born of fire’ (Shamelessly quoting an episode of Lewis here). The whole washing itself clean through fire and the circle of life is an intriguing concept and I love to ponder over it and unravel the mythology behind it. All my tattoos have their meaning, only it sometimes take a while before the meaning reveals itself. I now finally realised the importance of having the phoenix tattooed on my skin; the concept of a cleanse through fire, to wash yourself in the flames and burn away all the negative – anything opposite of the light – and to start each day like it’s a new day, is something I would like to learn and put into practice myself.
Rome, and travelling in general, is slowly starting to teach me that. It’s easier when on the road, I think. We have more or less escaped from the rules of society and are temporarily free from the daily drag that you get sucked into so easily when working from 9 to 5 and running from one chore or task to the next. Still, living life as we are, it’s not a bad place to start learning how to let go of things and how to start each day fresh and new. It’s kinda like bursting into flames at the end of each day and through that, be born new. I may be romanticising the whole thing, but the idea is attractive and certainly not unimaginable.
I believe that ancient things, like the rising and setting of the sun and the moon, gravity, the lunar pull and all those incredible earthly happenings, happen for a reason and there’s a lesson to be drawn from each and every single thing. As I salute the sun, the sketch of the phoenix of a dear friend of mine in the back of my mind, I realise that the earth, mother Nature and the Universe have so much more to teach me. I am not a sentimental person, nor much for all the cheesy stuff, but in that moment I feel grateful for allowing myself to finally open up completely to discover these lessons and learn.
I also realise that travelling is so much more than just seeing parts of the world. And with that thought in mind, G and I walking back, the sun long gone and darkness setting in, it dawns on me –
it’s only day seven.
To see the whole Italy series, please go here.