Tag Archives: Happiness

In the Silence

24 Sep

There is a silence at the Seminar Haus today.  Not many sounds to be heard except the falling of the acorns from the trees… and Dan, my fellow American visiting here at Seminar Haus, playing the occasional you tube or video on his computer.  Our host is away in France this week teaching a caligraphy seminar to second degree Reiki students.  And with no seminars this weekend in Wettenbostel, the space is a mostly golden… silence.

I have enjoyed the simple things today.  Mostly… being tender to myself.  An omlet for lunch… leeks, peppers and eggs with gouda cheese.  Yum.  And a walk in the golden fields just across the way.  I strolled for a while… then rested and took in the warmth of the ground.  Communed with the rows of fields before me.  I even found a tree stump that had been carved into a little seat.  A great place to rest.  And later a little picnic table and chairs crafted out of neglected pieces of wood.  Ah.  Feels good.

I took a little dip in the hot tub this afternoon.  By myself this time….The heat of the water was intense and shot through me… I could only take it for a minute or two before I jumped out and returned to the refuge of the house.

This morning I found my way down the street to our hosts home for a bit.  I did some work with our hostess and then gratefully received TWO pairs of warm woolen socks… a little preparation for the cool weather creeping in with the fall.  One pair were bright red ski socks.  On my feet right now.  Ah, oh so warm.  The other pair, Angola wool with pretty pink stars on them.  Deeply appreciated and a reflection of the simple ways our hostess cares for us while we’re here.

Dan is on the porch smoking his pipe.  And I am here.  In the building next door called the little dojo.  There is a soft murmur from farming equipment in the background, working the potato fields.  And that is what lingers today… in the silence of Wettenbostel.  A soft, soothing sound.

-Photo by Michael Hartley

Being at Home

22 Sep

Nothing is permanent.  That’s what the Buddhists say.  And I am all too often reminded of that… 6 years ago when my apartment and the world I knew were submerged in the waters from Hurricane Katrina…  the somewhat vagabond life that followed… living in Texas… here for a while then there.  And then returning 18 months later to a still unstable New Orleans.  My most recent year in New Orleans, I house sat in other people’s homes… 6 months here… six months there.  And now here I am again, wandering… in Europe this time.  How does a Gypsy begin to be at home?

I started this morning with some of my typical rituals… continuing to build my spiritual backbone… knowing, wanting…and sometimes seeing and experiencing that there is a way and place where I am at home… in spirit.  That is the ground from which I build my foundation. Every day.  This morning I read a passage from A Course in Miracles… reminding me to be open to seeing, experiencing and hearing God in and through all things… that God is an echo beyond what we see and experience.  Oneness. And in that space, home to me sounds and feels a lot like “om“!

It’s quiet today at the Seminar house and it has been good to be able to take my time. Grounding.  I’ve been tending to the basics.  Cleaning this.  Organizing that.  And today, Dan, my fellow American here in Wettenbostel, and I had a big adventure and rode bicycles into the nearby town of Amelinghausen. A neighboring town just 8 kilometers away… it is the closest source for groceries and other basic needs.  Armed with bicycles… that were in need of a little tender loving care… we braved the ride, the two, maybe three hills and safely arrived for a little shopping and a coffee break.  It was my first time “breaking out” of Wettenbostel to Amerlinghausen without the escort of one of our hosts and their vehicle. Being there on the bicycle passing the fields of corn, beets and potatoes just felt good and kind of reminded me who I am.  Nothing exciting or dangerous… but just the pleasure of being on a bicycle… seeing the fields expand and feeling the coolness of the wind.  I had to laugh when on two different occasions I had to swerve my bicycle to avoid hitting a stray potato on the road.  Only in Germany.  Land of the potato. We returned to the Seminar Haus, me feeling victorious at having successfully returned to the mother ship.  My legs were stretched from the exercise and my heart was moving faster.

And now, here I am… back at home.  There is a familiar feeling in spending time at Wettenbostel that gives way sometimes to the peace and ease of home.  But I am aware, in true gypsy form, that my life is still a home in motion.  And I like that.  But in the meantime, I do need to take the time to just be.  Be me.  Ride a bicycle.  Work a little in the garden.  Have some time to relax… work a morning in my pajamas. Watch a movie at night.  It seems with all the chaos not so long ago in my life… that perhaps I was lost.  But every day little by little, in the magic, the ways, the experiences of my life and new adventure…in quiet still ways.. I am found.  I am at home.

Happiness

18 Aug

Well, I have been in Alkmaar, Netherlands for about a week now.  And who knew that having a nice place to stay, some comfort and friendliness of “home”, and good meals to eat would be…freeing.  But it turns out that a big dose of some good old fashion comfort, hospitality and a little stability are just what the doctor ordered….

It has been a quiet day today.  So quiet that I find myself restless.  Isn’t there something I should do?  Move to the left… move to the right.  Mind wandering… searching the internet… and then, underneath the surface I notice… that I am… happy… for those of you following my nearly daily blog, you will take note that this is the second appearance happy has made in my daily dialogue.  I take note of it in my life because… for a while now it… happiness… has eluded me.  As I find it now, while I am hanging out on the couch in Marijke’s house in Holland, it makes me wonder if happiness hasn’t been there all along.  Hanging out beneath the surface while I raced or darted about my day… worrying or making plans or losing myself in thoughts and emotions.  There it is, happiness, just hanging out drinking a cup of coffee… wondering if we are ever going to notice that it’s there, and in that, not really caring one way or the other.  After all, it is happy.

Happiness for me in the past 24 hours has included seeing two very lovely dutch towns not far from Alkmaar.  As I have heard new acquaintances say, these towns are “typical dutch…”  Ya know, canals, boats, bicycles… and of course windmills.  But lovely all the same.  I visited a college down called Leiden yesterday.  This is the town where Marijke works.  I accompanied her to her workplace, walked down a perfect little path about 2 kilometers and before you know I was in the town’s charming center.  A little shy when on my own, I hesitantly chose a place to stop for coffee and a sandwich.  It was on the canal and my seat at the coffee-house overlooked the water.  My sandwich was smoked salmon, cheese, tomato and cucumber on a multi-grain bun.  Yummy!  After lunch I reconnected with Marijke and we headed for a town called Haarlem.  Equal in charm to Leiden, it had a softer style and pace.  It was a place you could just relax and be, filled with charming shops and restaurants, cobblestone streets.

And for now I am at home…just… hanging out… me and happy.  Later tonight we will connect with a friend of Marijke’s.  Low key.  Chill.  And… freeing.

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