Bornholm

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a good start into 2018!

I have spent the last five weeks on Bornholm. Another very beautiful island in what seems to be a love affair with islands that I am living. Two friends bought a house on Bornholm last summer and I was welcome to spend 4 weeks over the Holidays and New Year here. As I liked it so much I am now looking after the house while they are away on a holiday.

The time here has been very rich, we experienced a lovely co-creative time together, a free flow of joined activities, meals, walks and times spent alone. We drove to a few beautiful places on the island: A walk along a part of the coast in the North of Bornholm, including some time around the ruins of Salomon’s chapel, probably built around the 14th century. I read that merchants and fishermen came here to ask for a blessing for save travelling.

We also went to the beach in the South of Bornholm where most of the tourists go in the summer, kilometers of white sand to walk along. I was told that the sand is some of the finest and was used in hour glasses. Looking at the sea and beyond, the next mainland would be Poland. I spent another day there with a neighbour last weekend, with the sun shining, everything was put into a mesmerizing glow. The temperature was just above zero, but the sun felt super warm: we had a nice long picknick break at the beach. A taste of the mild climate that prevails here. Fig trees are thriving when it is their time.

In the middle of the island is a big forest area and it was interesting to experience the special geology of Bornholm with lots of ups and downs, deep valleys and high points and ruins of Viking castles to explore. At some point all three of us in the bare ruins of one of the castles were brought back in time and imagined the colorful life in such a place.

A highlight was a visit to the Erdholmene, a small group of islands 19km northeast of Bornholm. It is a tourist attraction in the summer months, with hundreds of people spending a day there. In winter it is possible to go with the postal boat ‘Peter’ and spend two hours until the boat returns around lunchtime. The islands have never been part of a municipalicy, they are administered by the Ministry of Defense. They are small enough so we had time to walk around the two main islands. We saw a group of seals on a rock off the island and listened to them singing, I don’t think I ever experienced this before, very special and touching. It reminded me of the singing elephant seal in ‘Urmel aus dem Eis’, a children’s book that I used to love when I was a girl. On the trip with ‘Peter’ back to Bornholm we started talking to a woman who lives on the island and learnt a few interesting things. Around 100 people live and work on Christiansoe, the main island. You can only live there if you have a job on the island. Christiansoe is a solid rock that continues steep down under water for hundreds of meters, so the sea is really deep right around the island. Maybe this has an effect on the special mild climate here?

During my more solitary walks I enjoyed communicating with the spirit of Bornholm. It felt like talking to an old and wise friend who I could ask for advice. Spending time on the island feels very wholesome to me and as far as I understood the overall quality of the island is ‘wholeness’. Potentially very healing and a wonderful place for reflection and integration, finding out what works and what doesn’t work in one’s life.

I can now value times of integration much more. When I look back at my life I think I never really took enough time to rest and integrate, the adventure loving part in me would be too restless and want to take me to a new adventure and I found it difficult to resist. Bornholm feels so strong and so welcoming and holding that even my inner adventurer can relax. But then there are enough interesting things here to explore.

The round church not far from where I am staying. We participated in the Christmas services there and it was quite a treat.

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And the trees which stand with such a presence.

 

Amrum – Chakra Points

When I was on the island Samso in Denmark this summer my tent neighbour told me about the theory that islands have chakra points, just like humans have. I explored those areas on Samso, that are said to be connected to the chakra system and enjoyed the discoveries.

Just in case you want to remind yourself where the chakra points are in our body and what they stand for, here is a cute video that actually goes a little deeper and explains how to open our chakra points.

 

Yesterday I dedicated the morning to feeling into the chakra points of Amrum.

My base is in Wittdün, in the South of the island. This would correspond to the root chakra. Wittdün is the biggest village on the island, here the ferries arrive, that bring visitors and lots of tourists every summer. There are numerous shops, small hotels and the typical holiday apartments. It would be the grounding place of the island.

The area, where the camping site is, seems to be the sacral chakra point. The sacral chakra point is about pleasure. What a perfect place for a camping site. I spent a week there in August and experienced it as an alive, creative, joyful place.

The solar plexus chakra area would be near Süddorf, which used to be the Southern most village until the end of the 19th century. Interestingly this is where the school and library are and also the lighthouse which is one of the main landmarks and trademarks of the island. The solar plexus chakra stands for wisdom, power and inner growth. How fitting to have the school and lighthouse here. I climbed the lighthouse today; the power aspect can be felt when looking out over the whole island and much further and the light is shining far to help seamen to know their position and warn them of shallow waters. Definitely a clear ‘Here I am. This is me.’ message. This seems to be so in tune with the assumed energetical layout of the island that I start wondering who and how it was decided to put the lighthouse here. I like to think that any person who is in tune with the land they live on would know where to set the lighthouse.

On to the next chakra, a little bit further North. I would say the little village Nebel is sitting right on the Heart Chakra. It is, I find, the cutest village on the island and I have found the nicest coffee places here. There are also a few restaurants (which I have not tried). Nebel developed around the church which was built here in the 13th century. On one of the guided tours I took during my month here, we were told that when the people of Amrum decided to build a church they could not decide where it should be. They then loaded a carriage with stones and put a mule in front of it and decided to built the church where the carriage would collapse. They did and then the village developed around it. Frisians are interesting people. I like them. Nebel (of course beside plenty of other nice places on the island) is the place where you go for community and if you are looking for warmth and food.

I am not so sure where to place the throat chakra. Between Nebel and the next village Norddorf there is a wide open space. When I cycled the 5 kilometers yesterday I was keenly aware of the openness and lots of birds, the only sounds seemed to be from the birds, some seagulls and crows. And then I felt inspired to sing. Maybe this is indeed the area of the throat chakra which is associated with communication and sound.

The village Norddorf could be sitting right on the third eye chakra. In the human body this chakra is associated with perception, clarity and intuition. It can be blocked by illusion. So interesting that the only cinema on the island (called Lichtblick, translated something like Vision of Light) is in Norddorf.

North of Norddorf there is only nature and a huge bird sanctuary. This is were the chrown chakra would have it’s place according to an assumed placing of the chakras from South to North. This is where pure cosmic energy comes in and as long as this chakra is open, the energy can flow through us / the island into the energy field of the Earth.

The lighthouse and views from the lighthouse:

 

 

Föhr

On Sunday I decided to visit the sister island Föhr. I can see the island from my room window and I walked there through the tidal flat three weeks ago. This Sunday I did not walk, I took the ferry which brought me and bicycle there in an hour.

My main motivation for my day trip to the other island was a visit of the local museum ‘Museum Kunst der Westküste’, fairly new, opened in 2009, which is specializing in art around Sea and Coast from Holland up to Norway. I liked the atmosphere, I particularly liked some of the exhibits in ‘Pure Nature Art’, one artist created a ceiling full of dandelions and another artist created insects from pieces of nature.

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There was also really nice soup in the museum’s restaurant.

The other plan for the day was to revisit places that I remember from other times on Föhr. Actually while spending time here in the North I have come to realize how much connects me to Amrum and Föhr. When I was a child, my parents took me and my brother to Amrum and later to Föhr for our summer holiday as the salty fresh air was good for my brother who suffered from chronique bronchitis. Good for all of us I think, I remember those as nice times, hours spent at the beach each day, building sand castles and fishing crabs and in the evening playing cards or shelling prawns that we had bought fresh from the fishermen. Then when I was a teen, I spent a few weeks in a kind of youth hostel with a supervised group of the sports club I was part of, one summer on Amrum, the other on Föhr. Beautiful playful times. Later in my twenties I used to come to Föhr for 8 years in a row to play a concert as part of a little orchestra in the church in the main town on Föhr. We were all part of the student orchestra in Kiel, my home town, and 12 to 15 of us (maybe 4 violinists, 2 viola players, 1 or 2 cellists, horn players, a flute, a clarinet, oboe and some more, all you need to play a Mozart Symphony or part of a Cello Concerto) would come to the island for 3 or 4 days over the long Pentecost weekend to first rehearse the program and then present it in an evening concert. Those were really good times, intense music making, company, fun and excitement around the concert. And I remembered the church as a very cute comfortable place. I have this thing about churches and particularly music in churches that has always touched me. I don’t go to church so often these days and if I go, I go for the music as in the music, I find, the mystical part of life can be most easily felt.

I arrived at the church in Wyk auf Föhr when the Sunday morning service was just ending, I enjoyed listening to the organist playing from the outside. And then I watched the people coming out, many people and each one shook hands with the pastor. There was a sense of community that I liked.

It took a while until I could enter the church and there were still people in it, a very active community it seems. And why would you not want to come here on Sunday mornings, it is a friendly and warm place.

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I took some time to walk around and think back to the years when we made music here. It felt good to remember and gratefulness rushed through me for those happy moments back then. I sat in a bench for a while enjoying the gratefulness.

When I came out of the church, it had started to rain, but I continued with my recollection of past visits and cycled to the Youth Hostel I had once stayed in and to the area we used to stay with my parents. The area around the Youth Hostel looked different, a lot of new houses, but the soccer field across the road was still there. Good. When I left the island in the evening I asked the spirit of the island to conclude my ways on the island in peace. Reverence is shaping my life more. Good.

 

 

 

 

More about Meeting the Elements

Yesterday I went out for a longish walk again, this time on the side of the island that faces the mainland, I walked along a path with a good view of that side of the sea, nursing my little waterhole shock from the day before and hiding from the very strong winds that were blowing on the other side of the island.

I feel electrified, or maybe filled with life from my meeting with the wind the day before, by my current project to explore connection with the elements. Yesterday I chose to start with the wind and noticed that the wind, in my case at least, wanted to be faced directly, I put my face to the wind and tried to pick up the wave of the wind and made a tone in that wave frequency (something like that). And again similar to the day before I had a few moments in which I felt in tune with the wind, through my clothes I could feel how the wind was caressing me, a very soft and fine touch to it, beautiful. It is a moment of intimacy and it reminded me of my experience with the rocks in Muxia in Spain after fininshing the Camino. There I also felt intimacy with the rock, first it felt hard and rocky and after I entered a deeper connection with it, the rock felt very soft. Moments of happiness.

Then I started to wonder together with the island spirit, how I could best connect to the element Earth, would that also be through sound? It might be possible, however the spirit suggested that the best way to connect to the element Earth is through gardening, actually engaging in transforming Earth and seed into a plant or flower. I will take up garderning at the next possibility. On my walk I thought that this must wait, but now I noticed that I can start with some indoor plants.

The best way to connect to water would be by drinking water. How simple and powerful. I instantly understood why it is often said that drinking simple water is better for the body than drinking tea or juice, etc. Just water would have the most direct healing property for us, otherwise the body has to do all the decoding of extra information (e.g. the green tea info) first.

Not that I am an expert on these things, I am just sharing my findings, which seem to be simple and straightforward. And maybe I read something like this somewhere before, but now I have a much deeper understanding of it. Also the associations of organs to elements make more sense to me now. If I had a problem with my lung or my colon I would go out and connect to the wind a few times a day. If I had a problem with my bladder or kidney I would drink a lot of pure water. Possibly there are other more complex things behind the associations, that is fine too.

So how would you think one connects to fire? By sitting at the fire, simple again. Or if you don’t have a fireplace nearby you can light a candle and look into the flame with a soft gaze. I just did that and I am fairly sure my heart softened. I am touched by my findings and wondering why people don’t use this knowledge for their lives. I will from now on.

An idea to connect to all elements at the same time in a small ritual came to me: I had the vision of a spoonful of water with a little bit of sand, heated over a candle and then the wind from a soft blowing of the breath. This can be served on a metal spoon or a wooden spoon, depending on which medicinal system of five elements one is operating on. Some are using metal, others wood as a fifth element.

With this I instantly felt more open to the Five Elements Theory of Cooking. Without knowing exactly what I am doing, I started to add pepper and a little bit of lemon juice to my morning muesli and it feels more nourishing. Exploring and experimenting while following my intuition seems the way to go for me.

The island spirit pointed to the difference between the Earth as an element and the Earth as Mother Earth. And I was wondering about the heaven, my feeling was that the heaven (ie. consciousness) cannot exist without Mother Earth. My sense is that this is one reason why we humans are here, to connect Heaven and Earth, help to bring consciousness to matter in us.

The Elements

A friend came for a visit, my good friend from school days, we travel together often and know to have some good times. Lots of talking and walking, good food and exploring of the island. We participated in an hour-long archeological tour and learnt that the island was formed during the ice-age that ended around 250000 years ago. The rocks and stones that the ice brought with it from the North built the core of the island where later people could settle and live. The first settlers around 2000 B.C. Later Frisians came here and there was a time when Vikings and Frisians lived in relative peace side by side on the island. Maybe some of the people living here today have Viking blood!

Back to alone time now, and after listening for hours to videos on youtube on archetypes yesterday, I took some time to connect to the elements today, as the spirit of the island had suggested during one of my first walks. A week or so ago, I had started my exploration and wondered what it means to be in tune with an element. According to Chinese Medizine and other healing approaches the elements are brought into association with certain parts of our body, e.g. water is associated with kidney and bladder, air or wind is associated with lung and colon. So I tried to tune into my kidney and then tune to the water, and later I felt my lung and then connect to the wind. Not so many insights yet, but it seems to be one way to connect.

Today, however, after I had chatted with the spirit of the island about holograms, the idea came to connect to the spirit of the wind, or the spirit of the water directly. Good idea and not to be taken lightly I would say. I decided to connect to the spirit of the wind first as it was blowing quite strongly. I imagined a similar contact as I have to the spirit of the island, but there were no words. Somehow I knew that this contact was just about feeling, so I switched off my busy mind and felt. The wind entered into me as the air that I was breathing, my breaths became deeper and deeper, it felt like every cell, down to the big toe was filling with fresh air. I don’t think I have ever breathed so deeply. And then my heart opened and I loved the wind. I felt completely fulfilled by the wind and for a few moments I could hold this beautiful state. Then I was distracted by something and all of a sudden I found myself in a hole of water. As far as I understand, on the sandbank that I like to walk on, with lots of rain, holes with mixed water and sand are formed that look like normal sand. I have experienced small holes before, but this was knee deep and the water ran into my rubber boots and for a moment I nearly fell, I could prop myself with my hands, but then my gloves were wet too!

Interesting experience, it felt like the elements were reminding me of the force and power they can have, I think it has to do with respect and reverence. I will continue my explorations with more care and honouring of the sacred.

Luckily I was only about 45 minutes away from my temporary home, where I changed into dry clothes and then decided to have a hot bath.

 

 

Walking through the Sea

Two days ago, I walked from Amrum to Föhr, the sister island just a few kilometers away. When the low tide is timed so that a walk through the tidal flat is possible during the day, guided walking trips from island to island are offered. Until three years ago this was only possible in summer, barefooted. Now the local tidal flat hero introduced winter walks with special rubber trousers. It was fun, lots of information about the nature and the birds and the shells packed into interesting stories and funny jokes. There were 25 of us and we were all given a pair of these angler trousers at the beginning (see photo below). We had to cross a few dykes first and then walk through dunes until we were asked to put on the trousers. Apparently we had a very low low tide yesterday, a few streams we had to wade through were only knee deep which we were told can be much deeper at other times. Our guide was surprised to see the tidal flat so changed after the big storms that came through here recently.

One of the stories he told was about the razor clam, first how French participants of his walks would not stop to tell him about their favorite razor clam recipies. Razor clams are also particularly fast in diving up or down the sand and scientist are now studying the way they dig themselves into the sand. They are planning to build wind energy plants that copy this digging system.

Another story was about the legendary island of Rungholt which sank not far from here in a big flood around the year 1300. Rungholt back then was a platform for merchants from Scandinavia, the Orient and the Mediterranian area to buy and sell their goods.

The islanders also used the turf around their island for making fire. The story goes that they took so much turf from the shores of their island that it weakened the shores and thus lead to the vanishing of the island during the big floods. Our guide pointed out that although the Rungholters kind of knew they were weakening their island, they still continued taking turf. Possibly similar to some of the behavior we are showing today towards the Earth.

Turf can still be found a few centimeters below the layer of sand where we were walking. I was happy to learn that what I had seen the day before at the shore of the beach was not oily sand, but rather pieces of turf.

The weather was perfect for the season and again the sand, the wide views and I don’t know what else reminded me of the desert. I chatted with one of our group and he said he had also wandered about this similarity. And my recent flat mate (there is another room in the place I am renting my room from and we share kitchen and bathroom, I will have changing flat mates all through the month) also mentioned her ‘desert-feeling’ when walking through the dunes. By the way, my current flat mate is here to be an extra in a film production, a German detective story. I am so intrigued by it that I just applied for a position as an extra too. So exciting, waiting for the answer.

The walk to the other island took around four and a half hours, three of those on the tidal flat. After arriving at the other shore we watched the water fill the area that we had just walked through and were taken by a bus to the habour, had some time to walk around and stop for tea to then take the ferry back to Amrum.

During the walk over to the island I tried to get a sense where the area of one island would go over into the area of the other island. Most of the time I was too busy trying to follow the interesting things our guide was saying, however, I had a feeling that there was a kind of no-mans-land in between the islands. Having arrived on Föhr, I tried to connect to the spirit of this island. The spirit seemed to be a funny species, speaking in the local dialect. Later, when walking along the beach close to the habour, it was telling me that it has very different aspects in itself. Very interesting. I am planning to take the ferry over to Föhr and spend a whole day there to get into contact with these different aspects of Föhr and the spirit of Föhr.

Spending time in no-mans-land helps, I think, to get into contact with one’s creativity. In any case, after a conversation with a friend yesterday which helped to open my creativity further, I had a surge of creative ideas. I saw the huge area of sand on Amrum, as a big empty canvas to play with and this is basically only five to 10 minutes from my house. I felt like being on a mission when walking towards the sand yesterday, armed with a wooden spoon to draw in the sand. After some drawing experiments and dancing around them, I took photographs of funny looking dunes. What a joyful place to be in.

Back on Amrum

Hello from Amrum!

Back on an island for the whole month of November. When I spent a week here in August I decided to come back for a time of digestion and writing and sorting through my experiences and notes from my first year of travelling. And being here now feels perfect, just what I need. A cosy warm room with a view of the sea, beach walks as often as I want, my computer to connect to people of ‘my tribe’, the possibility to connect to the spirit of the island, meet real people, have visitors and much more. The weather has been sunny and mild so far, I enjoyed long beach walks, ate ‘Fischbrötchen’, checked out the local grocery shops to stock some basic foods for home cooking and bought wool to knit a scarf for colder days. I also already started to go through my notes and feel like things are flowing nicely.

My intention is to write blogposts more often while I am here and to be more experiential in writing, maybe one day I’ll try a poem or something similar, we’ll see.

I’m still chewing on some criticism I received on my writing recently. Good. Let it keep coming. I am ready. And I use it to refine my style. Similarly I received some criticism on being me recently. Also good. I get shaky and don’t know how to react yet when it happens, however I can see how it helps me to refine being me. I am intending to move into the adult version of me who does not expect everybody to be nice, including myself.

My walking practice brought me to a point where I want to be in accordance with the Earth more. I notice the changes of the seasons in more detail than I used to.  Spending so much time outside and particularly camping and sleeping on the ground has opened me to more of what is happening in nature. I naturally want to celebrate or join ceremonies for important dates such as the summer or winter solstice or full and new moon. Last night I had my own little ceremony to celebrate the full moon. I lit a candle and filled two cups with water from the sea, I put everything on the sand and placed a few special stones (one that I collected on Iona and another that was given to me by a friend and I have been travelling with it for a few months) near the candle and cups. Then, on one piece of paper I wrote three things that I am thankful for and on the other piece of paper I wrote three things or habits I want to let go off. I connected with the full moon and felt the water of the sea and tuned in to the water inside of myself (more than 60% of us are water). The paper with the things I want to let go, was burnt and the remaining ashes went into one of the cups, then I prayed with and blessed the water in the other cup. I returned the water from both cups into the sea where I had taken it from. Beautiful, the ceremony felt very good and I slept well and had a peaceful night. There is something around the honouring of the rythms of the Earth and marking them consciously. I like it, it makes me happy.

In a short conversation with the spirit of the island today, while out on the beach ‘he’ suggested to practice more often to bring the water in my body in tune with the water of the sea. And similarly go into contact with the Sun and the Earth and the Wind. I don’t know how to do that yet, but I am curious. The contact with the spirit of Amrum is as straightforward as it was back in August: I ask if ‘he’ is available for a conversation and after receiving a yes, which I feel as joy coming from my heart, I ask a question in my mind and receive an answer in my mind. I love this.
View from my room: