A Travellerspoint blog


The Kind Heart

I have a story to tell about our train ride yesterday. We were traveling in the high speed ICE German train (Deutsche Bahn) from Frankfurt, Germany to Brussels, Belgium. The total trip was just over three hours. We hadn't reserved our seats, which was a mistake at 9 Euro extra, we had only purchased the tickets to board the train. We found a non-reserved spot after hauling our bags and pushing the baby carriage through the tight aisles of three train compartments. We sat down, had two seats and a table for Bodhi to play, and all was well.

It always amazes me how much humanity you find on a train. You can meet amazing people, angry people, difficult people, unhappy people, busy people, and kind people. In an instant you know often know them, before any interaction. There was a family that got on at the first stop, three kids in tow, all complaining and fighting. Many bags, much difficulty, and total disorganization. They are coming toward us and our feeling is "utoh". They get into their assigned seats next to ours, but one child will not move over, so they ask us to give up one of our seats. It takes us a few minutes to gather up our things, Bodhi's toys, the food, and move over; and just five minutes later, they get off at the next stop. My husband is extremely irritated. Why would they make us bother to go through all of that effort just so they could place their bags on one of their reserved seats? Why was it so important to make us move over for only fifteen minutes' ride on the train? It was difficult to understand except to understand that perhaps they were just the difficult types.

Not five minutes before, we had met this other man who got on the train, and had reserved the two seats across from us: Late 40's, grey receding hairline, blue clear eyes, his smile like a laugh. He was traveling alone with a boy about 4-5 years old, who was handicapped with muscular dystrophy and unable to walk. The man carried the boy to his seat, then carried all of their bags. They could have taken many of the more convenient handicapped seats near the entrance. They had the two seats across from our table and we began moving our things and trying to help with his bags. He sees the baby, and says, no no, I will take these two unreserved seats one row behind, it is no problem. We say it is no problem, we will share it, but he insists. We chat for a minute and offer the boy a large German pretzel. Bodhi has the other one in his mouth, he loves them. At first, I am struck with guilt and feel badly that he reserved the seats and is taking lesser seats without a table, when he likely needs them more. As the minutes pass though, I am listening behind me to their interactions. The man is incredibly kind and tender. He is cradling the little boy on his lap and they are watching a nature film in German. I am playing with Bodhi and tickling him, and he is laughing. Then they are laughing and he is tickling the little boy, the boy is giggling. I glance back and see such a happy little boy, and his father has a look of absolute contentment. When they are getting set to get off in Aachen, we again thank him for use of his seats, he thanks us for the pretzel, and I sense not a single ounce of self-pity or frustration in him, only contentment. I realize I have received another invaluable gift of traveling, and after the man and his son get off the train, I burst into tears. I am so thankful to God and the universe that the little boy is so obviously loved, especially one that needs to much extra care. I feel so blessed to have witnessed this man's joy and wisdom.

I find now that it is of utmost importance to me that all children everywhere be loved. Maybe this will be my main calling in life, somehow. When I feel children are not getting this basic right, it tears me up inside and I want to scream injustice and swoop in, gather up all of these abused or neglected children into my arms, and give them all the love I have left. And when I see a child, especially one with such special needs and challenges, being so fully attended and adored, it fills my heart with a flood of emotion and gratitude. Bless that man with his kind, giving heart. His kindness was like a splash of cold water in my face, telling me to stop worrying about things I cannot control, to stop focusing on things that don't work out, and to appreciate my many blessings, realizing that the ability to give and share love is really the best gift that we have.

Posted by globalmomma 01:45 Archived in Germany Tagged children train ride frankfurt aachen disability Comments (0)

A Balanced Life

rain 23 °C

Last night I again watched the movie "Eat, Pray, Love". And I was struck by the ending where when the main character is worried about falling in love and getting lost, i.e. losing her balance within the relationship, the Bali palm reader Ketut says, (I am paraphrasing) "Sometimes you must lose your balance for love, in order for your life to be in balance".

I lost my balance in love when I fell for my husband Chris, and I also have completely lost it for my son Bodhi. I am amazed at the depth of this motherly love that I have heard about, but not understood until now. It is absolutely everything. It might change with time as a new romance changes to become more steady & less impulsive, deeper but not so all-consuming. I find this loss of balance somewhat unsettling, since I like to have my Renaissance life filled with friendship, family, work, love, art, travel, intellectualism, music, adventure...and right now, it is not all that balanced or full. But it IS incredibly rewarding, and I am reminded that it is completely within the path of mindfulness and balance that one, from time to time, finds oneself utterly off-balance. With joy, with love, with pain, with birth.

Today we were supposed to have a 2 1/2-3 hour drive from the town of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, in Saxony Germany, to the small farm town of Bad Rodach. Well, we happened to be about 10 cars behind a major accident, so we waited on the highway for two hours while they gathered emergency vehicles, brought the tow trucks, cleaned the roads, got the entire thing worked out. Part of me was frustrated...I wanted to get to our destination, a spa, and go for a swim. I wanted to eat. I wanted many things. Another part of me thankfully remembered to be grateful that instead of being involved in the accident, I was sitting by the side of the highway thinking about whoever was in the accident who was having a much worse day than me. And I had plenty of time to send them light and healing too. But what really was amazing was how actually, truly enjoyable the waiting was with Bodhi there. We took him out of his carseat and we played with the instrument knobs on the car. He turned dials, flipped switches, turned the steering wheel, moved the volume dial of the radio up and down, up and down. He climbed from front seat to back seat, he pounded on the windows, he laughed at the automatic door locks, he pushed more buttons. He was absolutely thrilled to be in that moment, playing with both of us in the car. It caused me to forget most of my frustration and aggravation that we weren't going to 'get there', and to simply be in the moment with my family. What a gift, and again, what a beautiful lesson from a little one. Had it been just Chris and me, as resourceful as we are, we still would have no doubt been mumbling and complaining about the long wait in the midday heat, our hunger, our needs. Our son helped keep all of those feelings in check and remind us most of all what is important. Not a midday swim, but the health and happiness of family, and the gratitude for this present moment.

Posted by globalmomma 13:09 Archived in Germany Tagged traffic the in highway moment accident lesson jam patience gratitude Comments (1)

A call for comments

HI Everyone!
If you are reading the blog and find it:
A) Interesting
B) Entertaining
C) Obnoxious
D) Dull
E) Eccentric
F) Inspiring
G)Grammatically incorrect
H) Helpful
I) Compatible

I would love any and all comments, and of course, if you could pass it on and forward it to others, I am always appreciative and open to thoughts/ideas. Also, I apologize for the interruptions...I am doing my best with haphazard internet solutions.
Thanks for reading :)
global momma

Posted by globalmomma 13:21 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

Traveling as a path to mindfulness..

how having no concept of where you are going next can actually bring awareness into where it is that you are right now

this is a long overdue prologue to this blog, which is now unfortunately closer to an epilogue. But I hope it's not too late to describe the plan and purpose of this trip, for anyone who doesn't already know or hasn't already figured it out. We (myself, husband Chris, and 14 month old boy Bodhi) are traveling around Europe for three months. The plan was basically to start in Southern Italy and go wherever our whims and instincts took us from there. Maybe stay in Italy, maybe tour throughout Europe. Right now, we are in the touring part, having spent two months in Italy with the main purpose of studying and learning Italian.

Now we are off discovering and revisiting our favorite spots in Europe while we have the chance. Maybe our travels will continue beyond the three months, maybe not. We have no demands pulling us back home, except for friends and family connections. No house, no cars, no bills, no jobs, no school, and stuff in holding at a storage facility, available whenever we decide to come pick it up. I think my husband is hoping we will conveniently forget about it all and just leave it behind altogether. Our stuff that comprised most of our so-called life to this point. It is funny how much your stuff gathers importance and becomes synonymous with your being. And parting with it can be difficult - it feels like you are leaving behind parts of yourself.

This is the journey we are on. To rediscover our lives, to take it day by day... and hopefully through the process, to become more enlightened, more in tune with our own paths, and more present to our daily lives as they are unfolding. This has been the goal and the hope for our three month experiment abroad, and I am embarrassed to admit, I have repeatedly fallen sort of this goal. Rushing to judgment about a new place, complaining about our situation, whining about various difficulties when the tough days occur... I wish it were as easy as having the INTENTION to be mindful, and voila, there you have it. But no, it is a continual practice that waxes and wanes like a natural phenomenon. Some days, you have it, other days it eludes and taunts. And the person who you are is unrecognizable, unaware. I read a wonderful sentence about mindfulness & meditation by Jon Kabat Zinn, that meditation is 'simply about being yourself and knowing a little something about who that is'.

Posted by globalmomma 02:57 Archived in Germany Tagged meditation journey purpose mindfulness travvel Comments (1)

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