“We do what we can, when we can…” in memory of Babis

I, along with all those in OYL who knew him, have thought of Babis often this summer.

It is safe to say that this program, its spirit, would not be what it is without the influence of a man, an artist, who loved deeply, lived passionately and saw beauty in every moment. He lived his life as a great adventure and it was impossible when he was around not to become part of some new mythic journey.

Babis once told me that we do what we can when we can.

We do what we can, when we can…we do it fully, with love, with joy, with a resounding curiosity.

We do what we can, when we can…we open our hearts wide, receiving, responding. We create new energy.

We do what we can, when we can…when we can…it is not always possible, it won’t always be possible.

So live gloriously. Now. Live passionately. Now. Love. Now. Hold beauty in your hands. Now. Create. Now. Do it as magnificently as possible and ask every question you are afraid to ask. Do it now…because we live in parallel to an unknown, our own and those we love passing.

Babis was a free spirit. He was also a passionate one that felt loss and pain deeply. In a sense he was always at peace and never at peace. His ability to see beauty in every moment was paired with an understanding that that very moment was fleeting.

There is a magic to our time in Papingo. It is impossible not to feel the largeness of the universe, the vastness of that which we are part of … impossible not to be humbled. It is likewise impossible not to feel your own strength, your own beauty, perhaps a certain wonder at the marvel of your own very existence.

Babis’ life was an echo of that dichotomy. He did what he could when he could and he certainly did it with spades of love, generosity and joy. He did what he could when he could aware that tomorrow holds the unknown.

As we wrap up our first summer after Babis’ passing in Papingo I cannot fathom his absence.

Perhaps because he gave so much to each of us during his short time with us that his spirit will always live here…

…in this house as I type this, in the wind rustling the leaves outside, in the stars I stared at endlessly the other night by the beach as I tried to write, in the sunset I smiled at yesterday and tried to wrap my arms around as it ducked behind the mountains, in the final presentations of students as they jumped into unknown waters or sang to us as we gazed upside down at the passing clouds, in my niece and nephew as they run through our rehearsal, in our late nights on the balcony talking about life, in Nick as he flashes all of us a naughty smile, in Danny as he leads the apprentice company through a vocal warm up of “plaka mou kanies”, in Georgos, Natasa and Agelita who feel like new friends, in his namesake who showed up in the square that day that we needed inspiration, in our work, in our laughter…

The largeness of his loss is tempered by the simple beauty of each moment that holds a part of him.

If I learned anything in his absence this summer it is to keep trying to live joyfully, passionately, inquisitively – now.

I learned that doing so gets harder as time passes and I feel the impermanence of my own existence…that my knee jerk reaction is to want more control over what is to come.

I learned that I am most joyous, most fulfilled, most inspired and most inspiring when I let go of that need for control and look simply at what is in front of me.

We do what we can when we can. Babis – you can, and will, always be loved.

— Ianthe

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