Feeding My Soul

13 Aug

I just finished reading the book Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, the same author who wrote the book Eat, Pray, Love – a book and now movie of her year adventure overseas after the end of her marriage.  Committed is a continuation of the “love” story from her first book.  One of the things that struck me in the book was her description of her now husband, “Felipe”, as a traveler.  She says what makes him a traveler is his ability to make himself at home anywhere in the world.  He likes it simple.  He might even be boring… but he has a capacity to carve out his world anywhere that he is in the world and make himself at home.  Now, I am new to traveling and definitely new to being in countries that don’t speak my language, but I think if I would have to call myself a traveler… that is the kind of traveler that I am.  Like Felipe.  Knowing and liking some things that feed my soul and seeking to create those things around me wherever I go…

There are some things I just love, that light me up, and finding and connecting with them brings me peace no matter where I am.  Yes, there is a particular delight in experiencing some of these things in new places… What is great about new places… especially for me in Europe… is that just going down a new road or new path can be a sheer delight!

Top on my list of feeding my soul is bicycle riding.  How great it is!  My dream, my wish when living back in the Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, and considering where else I might live, was the next place that I lived would be a fun place to ride my bike.  At the time Europe wasn’t even on the map, but when it comes to bicycle riding Europe has far exceeded my expectations!  Now here in Alkmeer, Netherlands, this place is so bicycle friendly that there are roads created just for bicycles – no cars allowed.  And we’re not talking just paths alongside the main road, which of course they have, but distinct roads just for bicycles (and scooters…)  that easily pave their way around the community and into town.  These roads even have street names… like a real road. Amazing.

Yesterday Marijke and I took a bicycle ride into the center of Alkmeer.  She has two bicycles and was kind enough to lend me the newer, fancier one.  Ah so smooth and good to ride!  We easily followed the path from her home along the canal-lined bicycle road… and in only four kilometers we parked our bikes and enjoyed our tour around the cobblestone roads and stores at the center of town.  Holland is nice and flat like New Orleans since it too is below sea level which is great for endless and tireless bike-riding. It feels so good and independent to me to just hop on a bicycle and go somewhere… particularly somewhere beautiful.  And, this same path into town takes you to the train station… and from there you can go… anywhere!…

I have to say that it also feeds my soul to have access to  a car… not necessarily my own personal car, but wheels nonetheless.  I love the feeling of being able to just pick up and move… movement.  Just last night I asked Marijke if she would like to join me for a stroll… her response was… would you like to go for a stroll at the sea?… the sea, I thought.  Well of course!  I had never thought of that… not knowing we were so close to the sea and that it was easily accessible for evening strolling.  Being an American chick, I had not yet been to the “sea”… but to the ocean, the gulf… The sea sounded great!  So we hopped in her car and within about 15 minutes and a beautiful tree lined drive, we were at the sea!  At first I didn’t believe her as there were dunes blocking the view to the right.  But she said, and over those dunes is… the sea.  And I walked a little… and looked… and there it was… in its beautiful magnificence.

Which brings us to the next thing that feeds my soul… beauty!  Particularly natural beauty!  Love it!  It was about 9pm and the sun was starting to set and the water spread out like glass.  The tide was low and the water stretched out from the beach clean and long.  Its smoothness spoke like a sea… so calm and alive.  Marijke said that if I swam out into the sea… and just kept on going… I would reach Britain.  I took her word for that.  But, with just a quick snappy drive we both enjoyed a stroll with a scenery and a world that was utterly satisfying.  And a full moon, too!

Apart from these outer-worldly soul soothing activities, this traveler also needs to satisfy my soul from the inside.  Simple things like a regular dose of Course in Miracles… a short read of the text and nearly daily practice of the workbook in back.  My daily practice of the Art of Living Sudarshan Krya… and of course Reiki.  These spiritual tools are priorities in my travel backpack and feed my soul whether I am in Marijke’s home in Holland or hanging out at the Seminar Haus in Wettenbostel.  And with these tools I am willing to travel… to places new to me and undiscovered… both inside and out.

So, here I am, learning to feed my soul no matter what the scenery… what the location…  Right now I am in Marijke’s kitchen watching the rain pour on the canal outside while her cat Sil keeps me company on the kitchen table.  Much rain here.  They say it is not typical for this time of year.  So for now we dart out when we can during the dry times.  Sometimes we see a spec of sun.  And when it is not dry… well, staying warm and dry someplace inside.  Enjoying a cup of a tea, a good book.  Ya know…

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