Before I landed Lotje back in the Netherlands, I met up with my aunt at Ecolonie. A community in the North of France. She’s known this place for a very long time and has witnessed its growth into a beautiful place. A place where people can live, come together and can work in with a community spirit. They produce their own goatcheeses from the goatfarm, herbal tea mixes from the herbal garden, delicious food and in summer you can join them for different weeks with creative activities or as a volunteer, joining in the working community. The surrounding nature is stunning too. Emmy and I went for a walk through the amazing valley of the wolves. Normally that should take about 2 hours or so. However, we managed to get ourselves lost, so it took 4. It had been raining so much that the normally quietly flowing creek, was now gushing with water. Crossing it turned into an interesting and challenging adventure over mossy rocks. We had to partly create our own route through a very muddy forest.
Fortunately, that day was beautiful and I had brought water and Emmy bananas. So we were exhausted, but made it anyway. With a big thank you to google maps, even though the reception in that area is incredibly poor…
For me that’s the only downside at Ecolonie. They have a no wireless connection policy, with only a wifi spot at the parking entrance (they do have free wired telephones (old school :)) and computers available though). It felt a bit depressing sitting in fairly cold and rainy weather waiting for a connection. Ending up with me having wifi and no phone connection and Charlie having phone and poor wifi… That policy confronted me with my ‘connection need’ and the frustration I feel when there is awesome technology, that’s not working the way I want it too.
Since I’ve been living in my van, my phone is my connection to family, friends, finding places to sleep/shops/gasstations/routes, basically everything. I don’t feel comfortable sleeping in places where I don’t have either phone or internet connection, when I’m by myself (I love being in nature and disconnect, but not when I’m alone). And you’d be surprised how often the reception is utter nothingness in France. Spain can also be poor, but not a bad as France. I could also not go into nature and stay more around cities, but where’s the fun in that? And now, since Charlie and I aren’t physically together, the connection need feels even bigger.
It’s now been five weeks and counting since I last hugged and kissed my beautiful man. Sometimes he feels quite far away. Especially the last week, where he joined the rainbow gathering in Spain and was out of the reception zone. On the other hand, I was working in the lab all week, so there was a lot less ‘constantly checking my phone for messages’. When we do connect, it feels really good to hear his voice again. We don’t necessarily talk that much, but just knowing and hearing that he’s on the other side of the line, feels really comforting. I did notice that, because he wasn’t too sure about his plans, that I had the tendency of putting my plans on hold (old habits die hard…). Frustration would creep up and a feeling of rejection, because he’s choosing where he would like to be most now, which is in a place where I’m not. At the same time, I also feel happy being able to see everyone by myself and have my own Dutch routine. Not that I wouldn’t love to show him off to everyone, but it’s just not the same. The whole projection circus and mental chatter just gets switched on sometimes. Fortunately, it has turned into a practice where I can question my thoughts and the feelings that come with them, and get back to my deeper feelings of love and peacefulness that tell me that all is good, and that if I’m really honest, I don’t feel worried at all. Not that I never feel sad or frustrated anymore, but I can more easily get myself out of the mental story now. In the end, I (and Charlie too) can only be in 1 place at a time. I guess all the meditation and inquiry practices are paying off… 🙂
As usual, being back still is a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s incredible how many things you can do in a week. But also, how I still long for a fairly empty agenda and that while working, there is not much emptiness available. All in all, I’ve had about 2 weeks of work in the lab, which gave me a great sense of purpose again, although not so much that I regret that I’ll be going back to Spain.
I realised that I hadn’t felt like I had been particularly productive in the past months. I did a fair amount of work as I was helping out on Carlos his land and at the workaway project I was at. And found inspiration to think out some online yoga program plans, which I’ve actually already done a fair bit of work on. It just feels as though work in the lab is more productive, because it’s a small project in itself and I don’t have to invent how it’s done. For my online projects, I have to have the inspiration to write and I tend to be quite the procrastinating perfectionist. All in good time I guess…
One Thursday morning, in the middle of my workweek, while I was staying at a camping in Amsterdam, I got really sick. Starting with some belly cramps, turning into (involuntary) total body cleansing, as I like to call it. I hadn’t felt that miserable in a long time, my tea wouldn’t even stay in. As I was lying in bed with a bucket nearby and happy to be at a camping, I was hoping that my neighbours wouldn’t hear me and come over. I was wondering if I had eaten something off, whether it was a stomach flu or more an emotional kind of ‘letting go’. I had gone out for dinner the night before with a friend, but he was fine and I didn’t feel like I had a fever. So, I decided to sit it out. I remember thinking, ok body, you don’t want tea or anything else, I guess you’re busy with something. So, I’m just going to leave you to it and drink or eat whenever you’re ready for it. However, if we’re not drinking by tonight, we’re going to the hospital. I was considering a painkiller, because my belly really hurt, but since the tea wasn’t happening, why would the painkiller and I don’t like them anyway. Fortunately, the work that was planned for the day could be postponed a bit. I always say that I don’t get sick, I just sometimes have an off-day. So I was expecting to be back soon, although my body didn’t really feel like it. With some music playing on my phone, I crawled against the window of my van, through which the sun was shining. That warmed me up and thankfully made me fall asleep for about 2 hours. As I woke up, the pain was gone and I felt in the mood for tea and breakfast. All went down really well and I felt pretty good. Good enough to go back to work to at least be able to do something. I had left my laptop there, so I couldn’t do much in the van anyway and resting for the rest of the day also didn’t make sense. I took it very easy and it went really well. I went to bed early that evening and felt amazed by how incredibly ill I felt in the morning and how quick it had passed. Happy that I was able to trust the process and feel what was right. I also realized how much I was missing Charlie, whom I couldn’t call because he didn’t have reception.
As always, it feels good to be back and see my friends and family again. Being back also always makes me realize that everything moves faster here. Driving is not very relaxed, and people in general are more stressed out, which gets me more tense too. Nothing horrible, just interesting to keep noticing this contrast. I’ve also realized more, that through being with Charlie and feeling that he’s there, even though it’s not in person, I feel a lot less alone. That I’ve become even more aware that the people in my life that I care about are right here, even though it’s not in person. I like that!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see my sister. She was supposed to come to the Netherlands for a holiday and her birthday May 14th, but she fell ill and couldn’t make it. Now Switzerland is on the list of places to go to when traveling South. This time around I have been very fortunate to have been able to do some housesitting for friends.
One weekend I had Eline her lovely house in Scheveningen to myself. Really close to the sea, with lovely weather on Saturday. During the long weekend of Ascension Day I got to house- and catsit in Elisabeth’s house in Schiedam. Also lovely, with a garden, close to public transport and next to Rotterdam. This gave me loads of time to visit my house and Rotterdam friends. The garden of my house was in desperate need of some trimming and a tiny window paint job. Luckily, my neighbour just had a painter over, who could also make some time to do squeeze in my little job. I’m not very good at letting other people do things I can do myself, but this, I could and it was just perfect! It was good to chat with my tenant again, who will stay in my house the time being.
And now it’s time to prepare for the festivals ahead and get Lotje through her bi-annual check. Fingers crossed for that, or else my plans will change again…