Today I’m continuing to come off the high of a five-week vacation to Europe, specifically Germany and Austria. I’ve been home for five days and have been basking in the glow of my love of travel. Even after five weeks and hundreds of miles on foot and hundreds more by train and thousands more by air, I looked at my family on the last morning as we were checking out and said with a heavy heart, “Well, let’s leave, I guess.”
I’m easing back in to my normal life and with that comes yoga. I sometimes go to the Tuesday morning class, but it’s not my regular. Today, however, I felt a burning desire to go. So I wore my yoga clothes to my dermatology appointment with the hope of being able to make it to class on time after my annual Mole Patrol. Thanks to my (new) doctor’s quick yet thorough exam (seriously thorough, people), I got to yoga class with time to spare. (The Mole Patrol was all good, btw.)
About 10 seconds into class, I realized that I really, really needed to hear Nan’s message today. And I felt like I was supposed to be there to hear it.
She told a story about capturing monkeys in India. What they do is take a jar with a small mouth that is big enough to fit a monkey’s hand but not much else. In the bottom of the jar is a banana. The monkey slides his hand in, grasps the banana, but he can’t get it out through the small opening. So, he sits there, holding the banana. He holds onto that banana so long that eventually his captors come along and simply collect him, hand in the jar.
The monkey isn’t aware enough to let go of the banana and go in search of any one of the hundreds of other bananas that surround him in the jungle. He’s literally sitting in the midst of abundance, yet he holds on to the single banana that he can’t have.
The lesson? Let go. Don’t get stuck trying to hold on to the one thing you can’t have. Become aware of the abundance that surrounds you.
The lesson applies in countless ways. Surrendering the illusion of control, letting go of a loved one, acquiescing to expectations, and so on.
Nan further demonstrated the idea through the breath. Once you inhale, you must let it go. If you keep trying to inhale, you’ll die. Before that, however, you’ll be ridiculously uncomfortable with bulging eyes and a feeling of bursting fullness, when all you have to do is let it go. And then draw in another breath. The cycle continues. As it does in every area of life, if we allow it.
So I’m breathing, my friends. And trying to be smarter than a monkey. 🙂
Now that I’m back, I will resume the writing of my book. I have had plenty of time to compose in my mind and arrange thoughts and ideas. So I’m excited to return to putting this all on “paper.”
First, however, is my Language Placement Test at UNC Charlotte on Monday. I’m going to study this week to hone my skills so that I can hopefully (fingers crossed) place out of the first level. Then school starts the week of August 21 for me!
I have a great workbook called “Complete German Grammar” that I am working through. And I’m trying daily to fill in the blanks of my vocabulary. It’s painfully true that my vocabulary in German can be only as good as my vocabulary in English. And so, when I learn a new word in English, I also look up the German translation. (Thank you Dan Rather for today’s revelation: nadir or Tiefspunkt in German).
Wish me good luck! At the end of the test, my score will be displayed on the screen. So I’ll know right then and there.
This weekend, my baby will turn 16! We’re taking a short weekend trip to celebrate his day and to cheer on Michael as he completes his third Spartan Race. This one is 12-15 miles with at least as many obstacles. I imagine that I’ll be studying on the sidelines for many hours while he swings, climbs, hops and runs his way through mud and sweat. Viel Glück, Michael. (Better you than me!)
A few words on Germany and Austria (a la Rocky from Mask)
These things are good: the history, the language, the architecture, the food, the beer (dunkles Bier), the shopping, public transportation, meals on the cobblestone plazas, ubiquitous gelato, chocolate, the friendly people, the flowers, community tables, long and relaxing dinners, lederhosen, cappucinos (always served with a tiny spoon and little nosh), Crobags, the rivers, the mountains, the lakes, the castles, the rainbows, the bike lanes, the towers, the boat rides, getting caught in the rain, the Fassers, the ampel man, the Executive Lounge (thanks, Leland!), realizing that my family is German to the core (no Ancestry DNA needed to prove that!) and the sun shining on my face.
These things are a drag: paying for water (beer is cheaper anyway), paying for public toilets (so carry a spare Euro aka “the good quarter”), no washcloths (I’ll pack my own next time) and the sun shining on my face (same as anywhere, sunscreen, baby!). Also, having no time for a look around.
Here is a sampling of our pictures.