Somewhere along the road to enlightmentent

I am back in Amsterdam after spending a too short weekend in Groningen. I had signed up some months ago for a yoga camp at my favorite mineral baths in the North. Unfortunately, I was very late getting out of Amsterdam on Friday night and so missed the first day of camp, dinner, etc. However, I like to think I made up for that for being extra in need of meditation and inner peace on Saturday and Sunday 😉

The yoga was good and not the competitive bikram style I am used so it was extra challenging for me since it focused much more so on the meditation and mindfulness aspect. We all know shutting off my brain is difficult for me. I reached a milestone for myself during the second session Saturday evening. It involved the color orange and two words by which I want to anchor my actions and words in this lifetime. When it happened, I was so surprised. I had the equivalent of “Whoa, where the hell did that voice come from? Is there someone else here?” I think I had my first successful meditation ever! Usually, I spend all my meditation time just counting in between breaths so I don’t get distracted.

In between the yoga sessions, I spent time in the mineral baths, got sunburned from sitting out reading, moved to reading under a tree, took a nap and tried to just be calm. Of course, the grounds have a bathrobe park meaning you can walk around the park in a bathrobe if you choose not to wear street clothes. It has all kinds of places to sit and paths. I had found a place on a bench under a tree since I was sunburned. Along comes a fellow park visitor that understands the rules of the park. He is wearing a bathrobe. However, he isn’t wearing anything under it and he hasn’t secured the bath robe. He is literally flying in the breeze. Okay, I think, do your thing, man and I will try to get that image out of my head. However, he is also apparently training for the Olympics so he is walking laps and laps around the park to build his conditioning. After the third time he passed me and spoke, I decided it was time to go for a coffee and rest my eyes!

I also stopped in at the little cafe where I had met so many people in times past. Everyone, including the owners, were sitting on the terrace, so it was an evening full of laughter and catching up on the stories of the village. It was pretty late by the time I returned to the hotel, midnight. 😉

On Sunday afternoon, I left and stopped in at Marum on the way south. The church was open so I took a look inside and took some pictures. On Sundays in July, old churches in Groningen (the province) display different kinds of art. For Marum, it is the work of glassblowers. I didn’t break anything luckily. I was obviously a stranger and taking pictures like a tacky tourist so the lady in charge asked me if she could help me – right after she caught me sticking my head behind the church organ looking for the staircase to the tower. When I told her that I was going to visit my mom and that I had family from here, she called her husband over who is Marum born and bred. He talked with me for a good 30 minutes about the family history that I know and wrote it all down. He’s going to give it through to a recently retired worker from the Groningen Archives. During our conversation some other older people came in and he asked them. Turns out the man knew mother’s name and knew where the family used to live but didn’t have much more information than that. However, once a month, there is a group that meets to share the stories from the past 100 years of Marum history. Perhaps I will find more out there. I would love to hear more stories of my mother and my family. That’s one of the hardest things, I don’t have any more new stories about her now.

I met Marianne last night at the Gelato Festival. I think it was probably alot busier on Saturday when it was not overcast and windy. However, since we are highly efficient types, we went from gelato tasting to a gin & tonic and then on to Chinese food. And all in a 50 meter radius – who says you can’t travel the world in an evening! I am taking some Marianne advice regarding sleep. I am experimenting this week by being in bed by 10PM. It is not even dark yet at that time! Which makes it seem even more unfair. However, I am trying it out to see if I can improve my sleep quantity and quality. I do have a waiver for weekends though 😉 With the fact that it stays light here so long, it really makes it difficult for me to go to bed before 1AM. It is not just the light that makes it difficult, it usually has to do with the fact that I am sitting somewhere, writing reading or chatting.

I went to another meetup last week and there’s one on Friday night I am going to – see above weekend waiver for 10PM bedtime 😉 I do better at some of them than at others. The important thing is that I am trying and working on my shyness. I think that’s about it for now. Happy Monday!

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