I once met a Swedish-Turkish girl and being a curious linguist, I asked her about the word kefi, which in Greek stands for a joyful mood and disposition. Having kefi, not having kefi, doing something with kefi, being a person ful of kefi, etc. The reason why I asked, of course, is that kefi is of Turkish origin. Yasmin thought a bit about it and answered that yes, there was indeed a word with a similar meaning, keif. She explained that her little brother would sometimes say that he felt like taking a “keif banyo“, a feel-good bath I guess it could translate to. In any case, that keif banyo still resonates with me.
I particularly think of it when things tend to turn into obligations in my head. The spirit of that expression is something I want to hold on to. When I do my daily yoga, I am telling myself that it’s my keif yoga.
Equally when I go for my long walks, I make sure to savour them, because they keep me going. Between Monday and today, I have recorded 41,60 km on foot and without earphones. But I want to keep my walking an act of kefi.So whenever I am becoming too much of an uptight Lutheran, Zorba the Greek reminds me that life is not the same if not infused with the right amount of kefi. As we all know, it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
Not as in snowed under with work, but rather as in being in a state of semi-isolation in a wooden cottage in a snowclad landscape. A secluded cosy place with the necessary: some food, a pile of books, a fireplace and good company. Making simple choices such as what to eat and when, which direction to go to for a walk and what kind of tea to have while reading a good book. That somehow sums up how I would have liked to spend a couple of days during the holidays. The end of the year was good, though, I cannot complain. I spent lots of time reading and taking long walks in the mild weather.
The holidays are over though and there is no time for the unfulfilled. The new year has begun and the cottage in the woods feels remote. Water has already flown under the bridge and anyway, one cannot step into the same river twice.
I have never quite understood why the new year should start in January. I do not sense any renewal vibes in this first month of the year, which I have never had any particularly sympathy for. I am currently in a blue cynical bubble, but I am telling myself that a tiny bit of grumpiness once in a while can’t be harmful. Thankfully a nice layer of sparkling snow (and -18 degrees this morning) has arrived to help out in this awkward beginning and show the real face of winter.
For the time being I am not in the mood for making lists, resolutions and big projections. I am taking it day by day, until the horizon broadens and lights up. Until I have turned the page and shaken off the uneasy feeling of this forced transition.