9 Dec

It is a good day for me today in the Black Forest, although the rain is coming down and there is a chill in the air.  I feel content after having spent yesterday wandering through the village of Baden Baden.  Enjoying its beauty.  Exploring its cobblestone streets and hills.  It is nice to have a simple day today, feeling warm and well fed.  In Germany the family has the prepared, bigger meal when we would typically eat lunch.  Imke is a great cook and today she fed us pork, some yummy vegetables, organic broccoli and cauliflower and my favorite new to me vegetable, kohlrabi, cooked lightly then sautéed with a little bit of butter.  Simple, grounded tasks for me to do around the house today… emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the dishes after lunch, a little light laundry.  Things you might do when you are… at home.  Always a nice feeling… to feel at home.  Wherever you may be.

This morning I woke up from a deep sleep and dream…coming into the world as if entering through a big black hole.  I felt good and laid their in a deep contentment.. taking a few good full minutes to come into reality and eventually… noting… okay, where am I … I am… yes in Germany.  Okay I am here. It continues to be a pleasure to visit with Michael and Imke.  Their generosity kicking up the energy of the Christmas spirit.  My daily opening of my advent calendar sharing the chocolate surprise that is revealed with the children.  Taking note today of the simplicity I feel in their home.  Busied with a full life and two children, there is still an essence to their home and world that feels… uncomplicated.

I received a little Christmas spirit the other day from Michael and Imke in the form of new shoes!  I was going to town in my well-worn tennis shoes noticing that the soles were starting to come off.  In my traveling spirit of spending little money, my first thought was to repair them!  “Show Michael” Imke urged as she assured me that his technological tools could do the trick.  Michael took one look at my shoes and thought the best place for them was… in the garbage can.   And, I can’t say that I disagreed… So… as fate would have it, yesterday Imke showed her face to me smiling with what looked like a brand new pair of tennis shoes.  My size.  Too big for her foot.  She just happened to have them in her basement awaiting the right pair of feet.  She bought them years ago and has not worn them as they do not fit.  But for me, a perfect fit. And a grateful heart and …well let’s just say… sole.

On my trip to Baden Baden yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a manager at an Art Gallery.  I tiptoed into his gallery and took a quick peak around.  Prepared to leave, he suggested that I could take a closer look up by him at some of the originals Chagall’s they had.  I did, feeling invited in like a child in a candy store.  We talked a little bit, him speaking perfect English.  I shared a little bit of my travels and my way… staying with a family here and exploring the area.  He talked a little about the gallery that he worked for and humbly spoke of their success.  He mentioned his own wonderings of what do with his life. Is he on the right path and he said he suspected things like success could be one way to measure that things moving in the right direction.   Like taking ones temperature.

He asked what I did back in the States and I shared my typical… “many things…”  Then more candidly I shared, “although I have had many adventures and done many interesting things… the one thing I have not yet had is financial success…”  Then added,”In a way… that is what this trip is about.  Exploring what is next for me.  What I might do, how I might have that success while still having a life for me that is satisfying and in balance.”  I caught his attention a little with this I think.  And he asked me, “Well, what would you like to do” and my response was, as if by habit, timidly… “I’m not sure…”

Hmmm… He caught me on those words.  Not easily swayed by them and shared, “I think this world is very specific.  The angle of the sun to the earth.  The shape and design of this plant as it grows.  Very specific.  And I think when we use words and language in our own life that is not specific it is perhaps…how do you say… a cop-out?”  Wow!  I thought!  How specific that he could call me on a cop-out!  And not even in his own language.  I listened to what he said. He went on to say “I think it is curious to look at what is that you want.  Perhaps what you most wanted when you were a child but were not permitted to do or perhaps even what was there in you as a child, but because of your upbringing you were not allowed to express.  Life is organic.  It is a living, moving organism.  One day we might like pineapple, the next day we may want chocolate.  It is fluid.”  And next he encouraged me at some point, to get a cup of coffee or tea in some nice vegetarian restaurant and just consider… what it is that I want.  He added that it seems like I have some nice time ahead here in the Black Forest.  Perhaps this is a good place to consider this.  Consider it like a retreat.  He suggested a few books I might like to read, “Loving what is” by Byron Katie Mitchell and “The Essence of Reality” by Thomas Daniel Mehrer.  Then he gave me an organic chocolate Santa.   I said thank you and I was off.

The rest of the afternoon I spent wandering, feeling a bit more captured by magic. Grateful for the interchange.  Mesmerized by the architecture and unfolding hills.  Looking at the world in a way that felt a little more enchanted.  Then on the bus ride home, a full bus with many of us standing… I pointed out to the woman next to me as I stood looking towards the back of the bus, “look at the sunset!”  There it was in stripes of purple and night blue.  Then she said to me, “Look at the moon” as I turned around to find the bright night highlighted by the nearly full moon, hinted with an accent of clouds floating above the hills of the Black Forest.  Soon we were at the town of Gernsbach where I caught my train and…went home.

And this afternoon is a simple day filled with a little writing and some exploration of this inquiry exposed a little in the Art Gallery in Baden Baden… I am sure drinking some hot tea will be involved.  The house is quiet with the children are listening to audio tapes upstairs.  Right now the only sound in this house is the ticking of the koo-koo clock on the wall.  Gentle easy exploration…of what I want.  What I like and exploring being… hmmm…specific.

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