Days of Wine and Roses

Well, I have been in Holland for two weeks now and my blogging intention seemed to slip away. The only time I seemed to have for the computer was late at night and it messed up my sleeping too much so I had to let it go.

Last weekend we had a wonderful workshop in Utrecht, home of the Speelklok Museum, and now I am in Alkmeer, a beautiful city in the north of Holland. I am at the house of Basia Szpak-Borst, a Watsu practitioner I met in Arizona about ten years ago. Tonight we are going to Schoorl for a concert with my teacher Shyamji- where I will spend tonight and tomorrow night attending a workshop on microchakras. I have not been with Shyamji for over 5 years and I love that when I made plans to come to Holland I found out that he was going to be here at the same time!

Sunday, back to Soesterberg and then I cram in as much sightseeing as possible before I leave on Thursday! Yesterday I spent most of the day giving sessions with toning, craniosacral therapy and tuning forks. This weekend is for me! Next week I am hoping to go to Delft, The Garden of Life , the Kinderdijks, and see a movie at the amazing art deco Theatre Tuschinski in Amsterdam.

I am fascinated by the use of space here and the ability to keep things uncluttered and tidy. I understand that in a small country with a relatively dense population that space is at a premium and must be used wisely. Everything is narrow- the streets, the cars, the stairs, the refrigerators! I remember when I was little reading the book "The Dutch Twins", which is when I first decided I wanted to go to Holland. The little children slept in brightly painted cupboards! It also has come back to me that someone gave me a little Delft windmill when I was about 6 years old. I have no idea where it came from but I loved it- it was a treasure. So more and more I remember this resonance and the desire to come to this land of windmills and tulips.

Which brings me to the flowers! The supermarkets (which are quite small, more like the old grocery stores from when I was a kid) are full of flowers along with all the other neccessities. Inexpensive- beautiful varieties of orchids for example that would at least twice as much in Florida and twice as much again in New England- and I wonder how this country that is far from tropical can have all these beautiful orchids at a reasonable price!

But... there are greenhouses... and greenhouses and greenhouses and greenhouses! Driving along the highway you look off to the side and there are vast stretches of farmland, green fields and not just one or two large greenhouses, but maybe 20 or 30 all side by side. The Dutch love their flowers!

I went to Lottum last week, a town in the south of Holland. I have always thought of Holland and tulips, but this part of Holland is famous for their roses. Of course they were not out yet- August is the peak season here, but as I walked along the sidewalk I saw that there were these big curlycue structures that looked to be the framework for topiary rose bushes. I don't know that for sure but that seemed to be what they were. I'll google it later! How I would love to come back in August and experience a sea of roses. I imagine the scent filling the air that must be divine.

The sufis use the scent of roses as a way of connecting to the Divine. They place a drop of rose essence in their ear because it is the highest vibration of any plant and causes the consciousness to vibrate at a very high frequency. I tried this once. It was heavenly. Somehow it enters into the system and I was breathing roses- very subtly- but it was intoxicating. Days later after the scent had faded away, I went swimming in the ocean. I dove underwater and when I came up instead of breathing the smell of the ocean I was breathing in roses and went into total bliss. It was so unexpected, but I guess the wash of the ocean released the essential oil once again and it was absolutely beautiful. I lay on my back in the water breathing in sunshine and roses.

Cheese? Oh my God, the cheese! All I eat is goat cheese, no moo cow... but really. Goat cheese with coriander? HEAVENLY!!! I tried about 6 different kinds this morning in a cheese store ("kaaswinkel") in Alkmeer. I have already forgotten what they were but they were all amazing! I may have to go back there before I leave. I don't understand how I can eat all this stuff here I'm "not supposed to eat"and I feel great! Chocolate, dairy, the occasional nightshade... no problem! I swear I am starting to think it's just Florida that doesn't agree with me and all these dietary restrictions are for the birds. However, that being said, I think in general the food is cleaner here. Organic vegetables are organic vegetables- but other than that, I think the milk (which I have been using in my coffee) and the meat is generally better and cleaner.

Also, they don't put heaps of food on your plate. Just enough. A small plate of salad or veggies, a few onion rings and your meat- and the fried potatoes or french fries with green mayonnaise. And maybe a glass of wine. Dessert? One dark chocolate bon bon. Lovely and delicious. It's all so simple and nice. Most Americans don't know much about simplicity! Food for thought...

I know for some of you this is nothing new- but for me? I've never been to Europe before and it is so refreshing! I am loving it.