Where there is a will, there is a way

16 Aug

Hmmm… it’s a good phrase.  Not even sure where I heard it the first time.  When I was designing and selling greeting cards in Austin, TX one of my cards had that phrase on it… where there is a will, there is a way.  But what is this actually about?  I have found that my own “wilfulness” only gets in my way.  But I suppose there is a greater will, a greater wisdom that leads the way… that can be heard when I listen.   I consider this phrase when I look at my journey here in Europe… starting out as a month-long exploration…. extending it to a year, not knowing what will unfold, where I will go, and how I will afford this journey.  Ah, I guess this fits somewhere along the lines of faith…. paying attention… and sometimes going with the flow.

Going with the flow brought me here to Alkmaar.  It has been a mellow encounter so far. I am most grateful that my host, Marijke, too has a love for the outdoors.  This weekend we embarked on a bicycle ride to an area known here as the dunes.  A scenic ride down those lovely paved bicycle lanes and yes, flat roads brought us to a more hilly wooded area, the dunes, close to the sea.  We were not alone, surrounded by other dutch families enjoying the fortune of a sunny warmish day.  We stopped midway at a coffee shop nestled in the woods and enjoyed a cup of cappuccino for Marijke, her signature drink, and herbal tea for me… a standard compromise for me with my no-caffeine no sugar policy.  As we made our way through the dunes and near-bye tourist friendly neighborhoods, we took a break at one of Marijke’s favorite dutch lunch spots.  We both enjoyed a traditional dutch pancake… me thinking, I can’t eat pancakes… I can’t eat sugar!… but alas, put all fears aside, this is a lovely savory pancake filled with things likes onions and cheese and mushrooms.  Yum.  Quite tasty.  And a Big pancake, like a small pizza!

And now, Marijke has returned back to work as her summer vacation is complete. The past few days I have been taking it slow with more time to myself.  A bicycle ride here.  A walk there.  I can now find my way to town on my own by bicycle and took a short ride there early yesterday evening.  I wandered a bit aimlessly through cobblestone streets lining the many canals.  I took an adventureous diversion down a small cobblestone street only to retreat in embarrassment as I discovered it was sort of a “red light district.”  Only identifying this idea with Amsterdam, I wasn’t expecting to find this in sweet little Alkmaar.  But there it was.  Innocent enough.  Red curtains, pretty women in lingerie sitting in the windows like merchandise.  Men lining the street.

Today has been a moderately peaceful day … some sun, some tea, and oh yeah, way too much struggle with myself.  Perhaps its that will of mine again.  With so much time on my hands and uncertainty, it sometimes gets the best of me.  Surely, I think, there is something I should DO!…  As a student of a Course in Miracles I am exploring the idea introduced in one of the recent workbook lessons, lesson 135.  It says “a healed mind does not plan.  It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom that is not its own.  It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it…”  Perhaps that is the will that leads to a way… the will of a greater wisdom… even for a young(ish) woman exploring her way through Europe…and ultimately exploring a better way to be… fun, peace, play and plenty… with no plan.  In that way, this trip is an experiment in faith.

And in the meantime, while I wait or don’t wait or… sometimes just don’t know… I am grateful.  I am grateful to be here in the Netherlands and that someone as kind and generous as Marijke invited me to visit with her.  I am grateful to have some time and space to go slow.  And I am grateful to let go a little… of which is required of a journey of this nature.

So there is a little more sun to enjoy for the day.   And tonight, having some fun and doing my best to listen to the will… and discover the way.

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