How Can Fictional Stories Help People Deal With Real-Life Struggles Falling in Honey Book Captures Life and Love on a Greek Island

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Falling in Honey Book Captures Life and Love on a Greek Island

“If you knew you only had one year to live, how would you live it?”

– Jennifer Barkley, Falling in Honey; Life and love on a Greek island

Have you ever dreamed of packing up and moving to a Greek island? Author Jennifer Barclay did just that and shared her experience in her book, Falling in Honey, Life and Love on a Greek Island. A joy to read, Falling in Honey charts Jennifer’s journey to follow her dreams and travel to the tiny Greek island of Tilos.

Now for me, I find that the book I’m reading at any given time often shapes what I’m experiencing in my own life – usually changing my perspective in some way. So it was with Falling in Honey, which I was reading a few years ago during my Christmas vacation at home on tiny Vancouver Island. My elderly mother came to visit and needed a lot of help – and then my elderly dog ​​broke down and needed more help.

So when it came time to lay in bed (my couch) at night and read a chapter or two of Falling Into Honey, I could temporarily put on the back burner the fact that my terminally ill dog was in emergency and I was at a standstill. , demanding and strangely horrible mother was in my bed. But one’s escape from reality can only go so far.

While reading about tzatziki and spanikopita, a warm sandy beach and a refreshing swim in the ocean soothed my soul at a very glorious time, it also made me think… well, about thoughts – and how important they are in determining our lives at any point in time. We may or may not be in a dream or nightmare.

If I’ve learned nothing else in this life, I’ve learned this: happiness is a choice – a state of mind – versus a guaranteed outcome that comes from changing one’s external circumstances. And yet many people, myself included, are notorious for imagining how much happier they would be somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else.

And fair enough: perhaps they will.

But it’s also fair to say that no matter where we live, life’s trials and tribulations still happen. They did for me, here in my little bungalow by the sea… and they certainly did for Jennifer on her rocky road to tranquility. As such, I wouldn’t say that Falling in Honey is the reader’s escape from reality. Rather, I think the book contains a deeper and more universally relevant message: home is where your heart is and if you can’t find the real treasure you’re looking for in your own backyard, you probably won’t find it anywhere else.

The first thing to change is how you live your life versus where you live it.

As it turned out, Jennifer’s heart was on the island of Tilos – with or without a special someone in her life. And because of this, Falling in Honey succeeds in providing great examples of how to enjoy the delightful simplicities that the slower pace of island life can offer: buying local food, cooking delicious meals, taking long walks, sunbathing, watching sunsets. … basically slowing down enough to enjoy the simple pleasures of everyday life versus rushing through the day at breakneck speed.

In fact, the more I read Falling in Honey, the more I started salivating – both at the warm pita bread drizzled with fresh tomatoes, basil and feta cheese drizzled with olive oil, or the warm pita bread dipped in homemade tzatziki and its delightful feel. Jennifer’s writing about island life evoked serenity.

But then one night, I put the book down, sat up and looked around my living room – and shook my head. Now wait here a minute, I thought to myself: I live on an island. An easier life at a slower pace was my reason for moving here in the first place. I, too, dreamed of being a writer by the sea – though the Pacific versus the Mediterranean.

But the sea is the sea and writing is writing… and since both are wonderful teachers, I was clearly not a very intelligent student. Outwardly, I had all the necessary conditions for inner peace. Internally, my stress level dictates that I might as well be an investment banker in Manhattan.

For guidance, I turned to another author and pulled out my dog-eared copy of Ann Morrow Lindbergh’s classic, Gift from the Sea.

“Simplification of outer life is not enough,” Anne reminded me. “It is merely outside…the road to grace. The ultimate answer is always within.”

Ahhh… yes. Although my heart was in Sydney by the sea, my mind was clearly struggling to keep up with the slow-paced program. And that’s okay: awareness is an important first step. Changing — or accepting — yourself, I’m learning, doesn’t happen overnight.

“Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches.”

    Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the sea

For me, the most beautiful thing about fall in honey How Jennifer made the changes in her life that she knew she had to make – and by finding the courage to do so, she fell back in love with life. And that’s what I did, too, by moving to Sydney.

But falling in love with life is rather like falling in love with honey: As sweet as it may be, sometimes you get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of the big picture.

Reading Honey – and writing about it – helped pull my perspective away from focusing solely on the current, rather sticky, situation and reminded me of what it really was: a small but stressful bump in the long road of life I’ve chosen to take.

It probably won’t come as a surprise that Jennifer and I have an interesting history together. He was the first editor of my book. A widow’s wake. Jennifer patiently taught me how to write creative non-fiction. Although we never met in person in all the years we worked together, he painstakingly helped me transform my manuscript from the rambling ramblings of a heartbroken widow into a compelling story.

So I now return to Jennifer’s poignant question in the opening quote of this article: If you knew you only had one year to live, how would you live it?

Well, since I finally realized that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, my answer is simple – but not simple: with a lot of gratitude for what I already have.

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