Sunday, March 29, 2009

Words are vibrations too.

video


The words that we use come to define the rythm of our lives.

Learning German, I've noticed a peculiar phenonmenon.   The words that I know shape my experience.   Apparently there are some political problems going on here at the castle.   Lawyers and people come and go, join us for coffee, and talk to Reihart about them.

However, I don't understand anything!  I don't know the words that would enable me to understand even the broad details of what is going on.  I thus remain untouched by the whole energy of the situation.  I joyfully work on my art, help out around the castle, and cook meals for everybody.

Since I know mostly basic and positive words, I have positive and basic conversations with the folks that come through.   I cannot talk about problems,  I just don't have the right vocabulary! 

 I find that consequently, I don't have any problems. 


It strikes me that there is something profound to learn from here.  The words that we choose and use determine our experience.  The words and grammar that we have deep patterns of using play a large role here.   Words are sounds that represent ideas.   When we speak a word we imbue it with meaning through sound and intention.  The word's innate sound and the sound we put into it create our meaning.  In more ways than one.   

    If we have habits of using 'negative ' words, we tend to speak, create and define our reality through a negative lens.  If however, we've adobted many good and positive words, then, this defines and creates our experiences.

Apparently the castle has a bit of violent history.  Reihart has asked me to create an art piece toimbue the castle with good and peaceful vibes.   Mandala Man to the Rescue!   

I immediately had an idea... perhaps I could merge my learning of new words of German with mandalas and art making.   I set about learning new words.   Good words!   As many good words as I could think of!  


With the help of Dorathi, Reihart, Stephanie and her kids I have set out to learn new words and make a mandala for the castle.   This movie is the first stage of the project.

More to come!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sharing Food, Culture and Soup




Its so nice to have a kitchen to cook in.  

Its also so nice to have someone to cook for! 

Yesterday, here at the castle, I shared my famous Canadian Soup with Reinhart.   This is a recipe that my Aunt Jannice shared with me when I was in University in Fredericton. Its also a part of my brother's official family recipe book.  The Maier Gastronomica!

 Its easy to make.  More important, is that conveniently, all around the world, you can find the essential ingredients.    This means that I've been able to cook it and share it with friends in countries all over.  In front of it is an Apple Crumble that I also baked.  Can you beleive they don't have Apple Crumble here in Germany?

 There's nothing like sharing food to share culture.  Despite the soup's simplicity its always a big hit.

I call it... Canadian Potato Soup! 


Friday, March 27, 2009

People Everywhere are People. And they're Good.





Did you know that Germans are warm, friendly, expressive and sensitive?

Back in Canada, as I imagined myself cycling through Germany, a wave of trepitation hit me.   Every nation has its stereotypes.   Germans are this way, Romanians like that, and the French like this.  My mental picture of GERMANY was this rigidly defined country with stately castles castles, flocks of engineers, and men and women with rigid posture that would  be cold and distant and unapproachable.  

Terrible eh?

It was not that I consciously thought this, it was more of a subconscious anxious expectation.   I've traveled alot.  I speak so many languages, I can't remember how many.  Yet, even with all my cultural exposure, I still have these residual stereotypes and biases.

I am meeting German after German that shatters these stereotypes and bias!  Heidrun, from Leer, couldn't stop giving me friend hugs and pats!  Her warmth literally melted my preconception.  Last night a bunch of German 20 year old talked my ear off two nights in arow and then gave me a gift basket!  I could give dozens more examples.

In America, it was the same thing.   I was shown great kindness by people I would have pegged as stereotypical Americans.  Indeed, I felt ashamed for ever thinking this way after been treated with such warmth and generosity.

I am becoming conscious that this a primary theme of my journey:  Experiencing first hand that people everywhere are people.  If you smile, they smile.  If you show respect, it comes right back at you.   People are by nature kind and helpful and generous.  Everywhere.  Humans are good!

What I am typing is soooo simple and obvious.  Yet, to actually experience this-- the kind people in Germany are one and the same as the kind people in America, is quite profound.

Experiencing our essential humanity fits in beautifully with my Oneness Mandala project.   

I feel a little bit like a thread and needle being drawn through a giant multicoloured tapestry.   As I am drawn through one distinctive and colourful section to the next, I am deeply feeling how its all connected.  I am experiencing how we're all unique and colourful threads, inextricably connected and united to our fellows in one big explosive burst of distinctive and dazzling unity.




Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Statement of Purpose




I recently rehashed this artist statement of purpose.  Its a little like my personal manifesto!   Thought I would post it here....

I believe that when we work together we can achieve beautiful things. 

In this critical moment for  the planet and humanity, I believe that art has the profound opportunity to inspire and to lead through socially and environmentally conscious creativity.  This said, I am exploring collaborative, 'open source art'. 

Much like open source software, open source art sees myself as the artist and architect of collaborative  projects that involve numerous individuals creating pieces of a much larger whole.  

For the last year I have been  exploring this process through mosaic, collaborative mandalas.  By inspiring the participation of many, I orchestrate a creation that is much more than the sum of its parts.   The harmonious and grand creations that result are a powerful symbol of what can be achieved by working together.   I am profoundly excited by the potential of this process to unite and inspire.  

For humanity to raise to the challenge of the challenges of our planetary moment, we must become more conscious of our interconnectedness to our neighbours, to nature and to the planet.    Mandallas are part of ancient spiritual traditions in raising consciousness.  Combined with collaboration, they are a uniquely poised medium to assist with the grand task at hand.

Since June of 2008 I have been cycling around the world orchestrating one such project-- a world oneness mandala (www.1mandala.org) .   In each country I travel through my project is translated into a new language. 

 I am currently cycling through Germany and working from Berlin.   

Monday, March 23, 2009

Food, Friends, Fantastic




Oh my goodness.

Only a short while ago I was pedaling hard against the wind, nay a euro in pocket, and only a tad of food left.   

My computers and equipment were out of battery power, and I had spent several lonely nights in fields and forests.  After a very long 80 km cycle, I made it to Gantikow.

For the last few days, I've been staying at the amazing castle/home/gallery/museum of Reihart Zabka.   Reinhart, a quiet artist, has many friends.  They have been visiting and I have been cooking and they have been cooking and we have all been eating fantastically.  

Last night-- Universe be Praised in the Highest-- we went to the local spa and sauna.   

Oh my goodness gracious me... warmth, heat!    After so many cold and wet nights, I was able to re-warm my body right back to the core.   Naked, sweating and HOT, I sat in the sauna in a state of bliss that even the Buddha would envy.

Today, I cooked up a distinctive Canadian Brunch for four new German friends here at the castle.   The above is photo of the Mandalic Caprece Salad that I made-- I forgot to photograph the Salmon Eggs Benedict that I made.  It was a decided hit.  They have all headed back to Berlin, and coffee in hand I am catching up with 1Mandala work that requires focus and quiet and comfort.

Three new languages are on their way in and some amazing portraits are arriving.   I am preparing now the systems for a new version of the Mandala.   And... I am preparing to cycle on into the great city of Berlin!

Even hungry, battling the wind, there was a certain joy to it all.   I am alive.  And boy do I appreciate this coffe and that last meal.   Life is joy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Lugen Museum Summary



OK.   Its time for a summary. 

 Here I find myself at an old castle in the German countryside.  My bicycle and art has taken me here, all the way from Smithers BC.  Its a beautiful Spring day and I have moment for reflection.  

 I am about to arrive in Berlin-- a city that I have dreamed of visiting for several years now.   As an artist, it is one of the foremost places in the world to work in the world these days.   The word on the gobal village street is that it is the New York of the 1970's for artist.

I was born and grew up in Northern BC and the Yukon.  Leaving my town of where I grew up and have lived for the last four years, was a decision seeped in intention.   My dream of being an international artist was rather challenging in the isolated North where there is little municipal or provincial or social support for proffessional artists.  Not to mention that Vancouver is 17 hours away and the nearest other city 5 hours!  

 I happen to love bicyling, traveling, languages and self sufficient camping.   And of course, making art.   As I set off on my journey to Europe I realized that more and more each moment I was spending doing exactly what I loved.   Who great is that?  Now as I "travel" (it feels more like 'living') my path reveals itself to me one blessing and step at a time.

A friend of a friend of a friend connected me with Reinhart.   

Reinhart is an East German artist who took over this old farm Baron's castle in the countryside near Berlin.   He has filled it with the craziest artistic creations and has named it 'The Museum of Lies' (Die Lugen Museum).   I've been chilling out here while I catch up on a whole bunch of exciting 1Mandala project developments.

While I have been here I am met Maximillian, a friend of Reinhart's.  We spent long mornings over cup after cup of either too weak or too strong coffee, talking philosophy and language.   On the second morning, he picked up the phone and made a call.  I didn't understand what he was saying until he hung up and explained that I had an appointment the next day with Alex, a german reporter!   



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

East Germany: Brandenburg





I write from my tent under a wide open and starry sky.  

 Beside me, the river Elbe winds its way south east in the direction of Berlin.  I have been following the river since Hamburg.  I am traveling through what was once GDR, East Germay.   Its a crash course in politics, geography, culture, language and history.   Under communism East Germany was strictly controlled and few people were allow to visit of live here.  Just simple farm families.  The area is thus sparsely inhabited and the houses and farms look like they are out of the middle ages.  Thatch roof. Black and white post and beam.  Old German calligraphy and sculptures on the facade.

I now head to Gantikow, near Berlin.  

 There a friend of a friend of a friend has invited me to visit.  He is an artist, curator of "The Museum of Lies"-- a old farm baron's house in the middle of the countryside that has been converted into a repository of art and creativity.  

 It looks like a new adventure awaits me!


  

 

Spring!




I can't beleive it.   Spring is here!   For those of you back in North America, I fully understand how you could be skeptical.  Its only mid-March.  Growing up in the Yukon and living in Smithers, March basically meant you had made it to the middle of winter!

The last few days have been so rainy and wet and gray that I didn't notice it sneaking up.  The other week, when cycling with Louisa, I noticed some white flowers on the side of the road (snow drops they call them) then yesterday, some small buds on the trees.

Today is the first sunny day in a while.  All of a sudden spring is exploding!   Whole lawns are carpeted with crockuses-- little purple and orange flowers!   The birds are signing like crazy, and I am noticing more and more bugs.   

Perhaps the most exciting of all, was looking out from my tent this morning at the tree line on the far side of the field.   Usually my gaze is greeted by grey and bare trees and branchs.  Dark clumps of tree and forest and bush.

Not today!

Today, there was a yellow glow on the distant trees!   Sure enough the tree's beside me   have little blossom tails hanging off them.  There are even the first pussy willows budding!

Wow!

The miracle of Spring has two meanings for me this year.  The first is of new life.  The second is that I am still alive!   In Holland, back in January, I was greeted by a Canadian-like scene-- frozen rivers, frosted fields and trees.   It was the coldest week in Holland in twelve years, and I was planning to get on my bike and cycle into it.   North at that!   

My heart compelled me on, my mind told me that I was insane!

I confronted my fear head on.  I jumped off the cliff into the wintery unknown.  And... blessing after blessing, here I am sipping a warm coffee on a sunny spring day after so many fabulous adventures, meetings, encounters and experiences that I just haven't been able to keep up here on my blog.  

Unbeleivably, looking back I slept in more beds and hotels than I camped.  With my goodwinter  sleeping bag I didn't have one cold night.   

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
____

Signs of spring:

Crockuses


A Stork (!) has returned from Africa to make its nest ready for its mate.  These magnificient birds make their home along the Elbe.

New baby sheep!



Pussy willows.


Meaningless



I came across this monitor in a field in the middle of nowhere in Oostfriesland, Germany.

I had to take a photo.  There it sits, only a year or two ago you would have paid alot for it and now, for all its complexity, it is meaningless as the discarded brush clippings that lie beside it.  It makes a fabulously profound social commentary-- although, I am not exact sure what that commentary is exactly! 

 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Love




I painted this picture back in December at the Belgian Scourmont monastery.

It has taken me over two months to gather the courage to share this creation. It was so personal that I would break into a sweat and my heart would beat fast at the very thought of any one else seeing it. The painting represented a burgeoning realization that was growing in my heart. The realization risked rocking my foundations to the very core:

One can love more than one person at a time.

A little kid would probably laugh. Its such a simple statement, and put like that it seems so silly! Of course you can love more than one person. Love is free and open by its very nature. The idea of restricting love, only makes sense, it strikes me, after religious and social conditioning take their inevitable grasp.


There are many ways to love, from that of a child to its parents, to that, in my case, of a man to a woman. Yet at the core its love. Why should it be restricted, constrained or limited in any way? Why should one be ashamed of feeling love-- romantic even-- to more than one person?

In fact, it would seem to me that even labeling or categorizing love as romantic, motherly, friendship, or otherwise limits it in a way that is counter to the spirit of love.

I've struggled with this idea consciously for the last four months. Unconsciously, for years. My conclusion is that all the reasons why one cannot love more are social and religious constructs that no longer resonate with me.

Intellectual and social constructs like 'finding the One' or saving 'True Love' for that one illusive life partner, have taken me out of beautiful moments with people and put me into the abstracted, hypothetical and non-existent future. Moments where I would have been lost in joy I was lots in anxious analysis.

There are so many silly thoughts that conspire to stop us from loving!

It strikes me that love is beautiful and the more of it one feels the richer and deeper one lives. The more we are in the moment with someone the richer and more beautiful our lives. It strikes me as profoundly beautiful to be able to love someone without commiting them or oneself to obligations in the future. I've had some moments like that lately and they have sky-rocketed off the charts of any rating scale I thought I knew. Rather than having a limited capacity to be only able to love one person, what in fact happens is the love you feel and share doubles and triples and just goes crazy.

Of course, things like honesty and candor become paramount. Indeed this is love. Ironically, my fears, trepitation and anxiety about Love have kept me from the honesty necessary to keep things clear. But I am working on it. I am facing those fears head on.

Thank goodness for art. You can't hide yourself in art let me tell you. It all comes out.

This is one such creation.


6:56 am

A magnificient totally German meal later in the afternoon-- potatoe balls, red cabbage with Hare and coffee!
____________________


It's early in the morning as I type this from my tent and sleeping bag. Dozens of birds and geese tweat all around my in a grand symphonic alarm clock that has woken me up early. I don't have much else to do as I wait.

The grandmother at the farm house next door has invited me in for breakfast. However it's saturday morning and the rest of the family is sleeping in! Until 9 Am!

Last night I knocked on their door to ask if I could set up my tent. This area before 1989 used to be a heavily monitored and restricted area of East Germany. The few farmer's that were allowed to live here were seldom permitted guests. Special government permission was required. Imagine that, life without hospitality! When I have had a home that was my favorite part.

Perhaps that explains Rud's, the grandmother's enthusiasm, above the rest of her family, to call me in after I had set up my tent.

Kindness and hospitality are part of human nature-- despite repression and language barriers. She remarked that since 1946, aside from the Canadian geese in the field nearby, I am their first foreign guest!

All I can say is Danke Schon! (thank you!). My last few days have been wet and tight and with little food.

As I commented on in my last post I have been struggling with my fear and anxiety about arriving in Berlin. I have slowed down. My worries have come to the surface and begun to define my experience. I can see this with clarity now-- I am in a such a fluid space that each thought I have quickly manifests itself. That has happened. Now, as I consciosly raise my spirits, examine and embrace my fear, my experience changes.

And I meet wonderful people like Rudd and Hand Jurgen!

The family gathered around as we shared (all in German!) about life in Canada and Deutshland. And this morning, I am trying her hard not have hopeful expectations, but, I may just have a... Coffee!

Why should I be afraid?

There is nothing to be afraid of.

Onwards!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Good to Bad: A Muddy Road


Its amazing how one can have such a wonderful day and then... such a crappy day.   

It went from sun shine to rain climatically and metaphorically.   I ran low on food and all my stuff got soaked.  Plus, the road turned to mud.  I will upload the picture of the road when I have my next good connection.   Its pretty crazy.

So basically, I had to plug myself into my iPod.  Put on some tragically hip.  Wave my hands at the rain.  And try and enjoy it.

I am doing a better job today!

I think I may be a little anxious about arriving in Berlin-- my long sought destination.  I am accustomed now to journeying, not arriving.  It is a transition, I must not shy from but rather pedal full out into.

Onwards.





Thursday, March 12, 2009

Elbe Campsite



I sit against a tree.  I  am at one of the most glorious camp sites I have had in a while.  I am perched on a cliff over looking the river Elbe as it winds towards Havelburg and Berlin.  I can see hundreds of kilometres in all directions.  Germany lies before me as the sun sets in a purple burst of clouds and an orange glow.  

Tonight, I will camp here under a clear and starry sky.

My tent dries in the last rays of the sun.  Before anyone gets envious--last night's forest wasn't nearly as nice.   And it rained.   My sleeping bag and cloths are scattered on tree limbs drying in the fresh breeze.

I have the whole forest and the view to myself. 

I am alone.  Yet, I am grateful.  The last few days have been intense with interactions and encounters.  Even today, in search of a cafe my intuition led me to one run by mentally challenged folks.  They were really friendly, and not only did I get a good meal, but a good natured guy took me for a tour of his city and helped me find the bike path.  Then I cruised down the road under a blue sky.

So its nice to be on my own, even if it is a tad lonely.   There is lots to process and reflect on.  The blessings just keep abounding.  The sky is now a tinged pink.  

Time to close the laptop and start my fire.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It wasn't just the rain



When I was in Holland, my friend Wout asked me what I would do if I had major mechanical problems and no money to fix them.   At the moment, all was well with my bike, so I tried to give my best Yoda-esque answer:  

 "When the moment comes, so then shall I see the solution".   

I stammered as I spoke and I am sure it didn't come across as very convincing as Yoda teaching Luke on the Da-goby system.   In fact, given this is the second time I have touched on his question, I think he got me worrying!

After the Spoke Incident and making my repairs, I was able to cruise somewhat smoothly into Hamburg.  Yet I could sense a host of other problems brewing.  Sure enough making a 500 metre jaunt in Claudia's neighbourhood the next day, everything disintegrated!   

My gears stopped shifting, another spoke broke, my bag hook system busted, and my back tube needed replacing!   Its a minor miracle that they all held out until Claudia's.

What to do?  In life, I am learning that what you bring with you, what you trust in, determines your experience and its depth.  If you travel with an RV, a car, a motorcycle, a bike... it will determine what you experience.  I am... uh... not traveling with money or much.  At times it feels like I am trusting so much that I might be a tad crazy.  Then, things like this happen...

After visiting Claudia's Church on Sunday, I met Arno and his wife over coffee.   We hit if off immediately.   I mentioned, that I needed to repair my bike that day.   Arno enthusiastically offered to look at it with me in his cellar.   I headed on over that afternoon.

Get this Wout... it turns out that Arno is a retired German mechanical engineer and  cycle enthusiast!  We had to pick our way around the collection of bikes in his basement to get to his tool bench.  He had all the tools I could dream of, not to mention a vast repository of parts!   We tackled one problem after another.   

"Behoven".  That means 'fixed' in German.

But it wasn't just about fixing a bike.  My bike problems weren't really a problem.   They were the means for an extradorniary connection.   Problems and material things are all kinda that way aren't they?  They are just props in this extradonary web of connections, encounters and relationships that we call life.

Arno and his wife had lost their son twelve years ago.  He died after returning from backbacking in my province of British Columbia.  He had traveled through towns and places that I know well.     

There was picture of their son on the living room table.   He was my age.   He and I looked so much a like it was chilling.   An outer enthusiast, he even wore an Icelandic sweater just like mine.   I realized that there was much more to Arno's good will to help me with my bike.  

Arno and Renalta dearly miss their son.  The universe was giving him something him intangibly meaningful by me being there to be helped.   Apparently their son had had a profound experience in BC before he died and had been shown much kindness by Canadians.   

My bike is fixed.  It hasn't run smoother in months.   

Arno accompanied me to the outskirts of Hamburg on his bike.   There, sheltering from the rain under a bridge, I thanked him for all his help.  But they were just words.   What was really said was spoken with our embrace.

I've said many goodbyes on my journey.  Just about as many times as I have said hello.  However, this was one of the most emotional.   Was it just the rain, or did we embrace with a tears in both our eyes?  

As I pedaled off, he watched me cycle down the road and away into the unknown. 

It certainly wasn't just the rain.







Monday, March 9, 2009

Hamburg




I sit in a cafe in the heart of Hamburg.

I pulled into the home of Claudia Christine, at about 11 PM Friday night.   Hamburg is not a quaint little town like I have grown used to cycling through Germany.   Instead, its a really really big city!  

 It took me an epic cycle through fields, then forests, then a sprawling industrial area.  Yes, you know you're lost when you start cycling pass mammoth manufacturing plants, then chemical factories with so many tanks and pipes that look they like a Borg spaceship!  It took another hour or two from the center and commercial outskirts to make it to 34 Gronlander Strasse and Claudia's house.

However, my moments since have made it all worthwhile. 

 Claudia and I have been drifting from one magical encounter to the next.   Claudia is the Humanity's Team country coordinator for Germany.   I happened to have arrived on just the right weekend to make an HT meeting.   I spent a great afternoon with about a dozen HT teamates.   I had a chance to invite them to participate in the 1Mandala project and hear about life, culture, and spirituality in Germany.  

Here are a few of their peace portraits!





The Hum of Hamburg




I sit in a quiet forest.

Beyond the distant hum of Hamburg rumbles in the distance.

A light rain falls.

The patter is so close and so real it quickly drowns out the city.

It is so loud that it becomes a great quiet.

As I merge with the city I will take drop of the silence with me.


----
written in the forest.




Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Spoke Incident




Holy smokes.

Its amazing how things can go so quickly from good to bad.  One moment I am cruising down a nice road on a sunny spring day.  The next, two spokes blow out, my wheel is massive warped, and I've lost my top quality, ultra crucial, cycling glove.

Yikes.

My friend Wout asked me the other day what I would do if I had a major mechanical problem and no money.

Well, Wout... here's your answer in the way that it actually happened:   

I was just able to keep cycling despite massive friction between my tire and frame.  I figured my wheel was toast and I would somehow have to get a new one despite the fact I was in the middle of the countryside and a long long way from any bike shops, not to mention the money issue.  

However, my glove being still retreivable I decided to retrace my steps.  I cycled like a lame duck back the way I had come

A few slow kilometres later... on the side of a field, I saw it.

Not my glove... but an old discarded bike wheel!  

 I pulled over and set to work.  Mircaculously, it was the same size as mine.  I salvaged and exchanged the parts I needed.   I've never replaced spokes or re-tuned a tire, but as the moon rose and my friends the stars joined me, I managed to do it.

After several hours of intense work, the new tire spun smoothly in my fork.  I lay down in the field and thanked the universe.   I was a little proud of myself too!   I seriously didn't think it could be done.

It had been a long day.   I headed in to treat myself to some spaghetti at an Italian restauraunt where the owner had given me some tomatoes as a gift earler in the day.  It was only a kilometre or so from where I now was.   Ahhh... nice.

Now to find my blessed glove!


Coffee Crystal Mandala

(photo missing -  to be uploaded when I get my USB cable)

As I mentioned in my last blog, I just never know what you're going to get when I order a coffee.  You'd think, with a coffee, how many variables can there really be?  Let me tell, I keep experiencing something new all the time.

Today it was the sugar.  The restaurant served these intriguing sugar crystals.  Not cubes.  Crystals.  

Well... how cool would it be to make a mandala out of crystals I thought.  

And so... I made one!

Starbucks Sketch




This little sketch was composed sitting in front of Louisa in the Starbucks in Bremen's centre.  

We have a bad habit of going to Starbucks together.  You must understand though, that traveling through so many lands and never ever knowing what I am going to get when I order a coffee, its just so nice, to know what you are going to get, and to know that it will be good.  Just that, makes star bucks appealing.

Anyhow, while we sipped our coffee, Louisa was talking about something.  I confess I don't quite remember what. Perhaps I wasn't listening.  Nay, I was listening-- but rather to the curve of her cheek and the twinkle in her eye.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Humanity's Team Connection in Leer




As I have been going through different countries I have been connecting with Humanity's Team groups and members.  Humanity's team is an organization all about Oneness-- and it has put its moral support behind my project.   There's nothing but resonance between myself, my project, humanity's team, and HT folks.

The other day, I had the immense pleasure of connecting with a Humanity's Team group in Leer Germany.

As I expressed in my last post, I was feeling daunted by the strange new land that I found myself in.  just as I had grown comfortable speaking Dutch and making my way through Holland here I was confronted by a new language, culture and road signs!   It was a jarring imposition!   

But it was also Saturday that I had been invited to join a Humanity's Team gathering in Leer Germany.

It was immediately apparent that "I was not from around these parts".   Christophe, the leader knew a little bit about what I was doing and introduced me.  I am afraid I might have detracted from the normal meeting schedule!   To my slight embarassment everyone had many questions.   

"Where in Canada did you come from?"  "How far have you biked?"   "How old are you?"  "Do you have kids?"   "How do you pay for traveling for a year on a bike?"  

However, much more interesting were their questions about Humanity's Team.

The group had been gathering for the last three years to read together CWG.  They knew about Humanity's Team, but they had no idea what it was up to.   They were extremely curious to find out about their fellow teamates in Canada and around the world.   How many teamates are there in Canada?   In the US?  What are they doing?  What is HT doing in Canada and in the World?

As the 1Mandala project has been getting established I have been interacting with HT country coordinators and HT leaders internationally.   Consequently, I actually have a fairly good grasp of what HT is doing these days.   They wanted to know if HT was doing more than just giving out free hugs!  Nothing against free hugs of course, but I was able to share with them some of HT's recent and current undertakings.

Most notably my 1Mandala project!

I'd been getting a little down on the momentum of the project lately.   Again, all this changed with the excited and enthusiastic reception my description of the project received.  Everyone wanted to know how to participate.  One lady volunteered immediately to translate the project into German.  Another, sent her peace portrait in that night.

Wow.   Nice!   Christophe and Brigitt gifted me with a warm bed and meal.   I was able to indulge in such great luxuries as a shower, washing my cloths and hosing down my bike!   Ahh!  This may sound a little silly... but....   I kissed the bathroom floor with gratefullness.



Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mass in Delmenhorst

I write from Delmenhorst, Germany.  

This morning, Louisa and I decided that we would attempt a religious experience.   As we woke up in our little field, we could hear the Church bells calling us from all directions.   We packed up the tent and headed in the direction of the nearest 'ding'.  We were lead to a strikingly modern Catholic cathedral.   From a distance and in the fog it looked a little like a factory.   We arrived in perfect time for mass.  

Usually I find attending Church services in different places a wonderful way to not only have a moment of peace, but to hear and learn some new words, and most of all connect with new people.  Inside was archetecturally quite impressive.  Alas, despite the fantastic abstract stainglass window that swept the contour of the Church, the service itself wasn't nearly as engaging.   The singing was mubbled, the sermon was spoken too awkwardly, I couldn't pick anything out.  Then, it ended, and everybody left.   And that was that.  Not even a coffee time or a hello!   

Oh well... it won't be the last German service I attend of that I am sure.  Onwards to Bremen!

A side note... on the right hand of the page I have just added my status updates from Twitter.  This is updated everytime I make it online!