Prior to this trip, I joked with some of my friends that it was good I was traveling alone. No one has the patience to put up with me and my constant itinerary changes. Trip planning began in May, but I allowed for the flow of things. I trusted the universe would connect me with the people I needed to meet and places it needed me to see. Trusted this even if it meant my itinerary changed multiple times a day the last two weeks. Trusted this even though plans changed up to the point I boarded the plane. I listened to my intuition and did what felt was right, even if it meant changing or canceling plans during the trip.
One of the things I wanted to happen on this trip was some downtime. Relaxation. Time to re-evaluate my life. Time to just be still. I’d spent almost every minute of the last three and a half years building a solid foundation in my new life. Doing so ensured my boys had food on the table, a roof over their heads, every bill was paid, and the boys had everything they needed. This meant I worked endlessly when I was not taking care of them, to build my ever-changing business.
Balance was achieved in work. Balance between work that paid the bills and writing which did not, until the book or program was done. As the years passed, there began to be time for me to just be quiet or relax. A little time to go out with friends. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and know this will continue until the end of this year as I complete some things.
Balance was required on this trip. I needed days in which I was not meeting anyone and was not working. I had intended to work on client books during the trip, this did not happen. I needed days in which I could go sit in a bakery and sip coffee, eat something chocolaty, and write. Time to explore churches and museums or wander along the cobblestones anywhere I felt like going. To fill my soul with things I cannot get at home.
16 October 2015
16 October 2015 was one of those rare days. My plan for the day was simple. I was still staying in Bastogne and wanted to walk to the church for some quiet time. Then go to the Musée en Piconrue before lunch. Le Mess, the 101th Airborne Museum was on my agenda for the afternoon. Maybe even a nap!
I slept in, that grey, chilly, morning. After a delicious breakfast and coffee to warm me, I took a walk down the main street toward the church. I did a little window shopping and especially admired the incredible desserts which looked like works of art in the bakery windows. I made a mental (drooled on) note, to stop at one on my way back to pick up some sort of chocolate yumminess for the afternoon.
The Church and Museum
My first stop was the church to look at the outside. Then I went across the street to the Musée en Piconrue. The exhibit, “From Texas to Bastogne,” was in one part of the museum. I wandered through there and somehow missed the second floor. It was fine though. Most of my time was spent in the main museum where I learned a lot about life in the Ardennes across the centuries.
I was especially drawn to the areas of the museum which focused on World War II and death across time. As a WWII historian and genealogist, are you surprised? There were wedding dresses made from parachutes. Beautiful grave stones and religious statues. There was even an old horse-drawn hearse in the museum.
One of my favorite areas of the museum was the folklore exhibit. This room described through dioramas, pictures, and text (nothing in English though) about the werewolves, devil, fairies, witches, gnomes, and knights which live in the forests of the Ardennes area. For the rest of the museum, I had the use of an English guidebook. I’m not sure why the entire museum wasn’t included, but it was fine.
When I was finished learning about the folklore of the area, I went back to the church. This was rebuilt after the war, but you could feel all the soldiers from the Bastogne area, and those attached to me from both sides of the war, stopping in to say hello or pray. There was peace there and no anger.
I ended up going into a room in the back of the church where shrines to Mary and Jesus were located. Visitors could light candles and sit if they chose. As I said in a prior post, I’m not religious and almost never go to Mass. On my trip however, I visited many chapels and churches and lit candles. In Bastogne, I lit candles for all my soldiers. Those who have come to me in this life and those I took care of in past lives, especially World War I. After lighting candles I wrote in my journal and just sat. About an hour passed before I walked into the main part of the church to sit. Not one person entered the church while I was in that room with the candles.
Sitting in churches brings me and my soldiers, peace. I do a lot of energy clearing in those places which is healing and exhausting. Being still also allows time to observe my surroundings in greater detail. I take a lot of photos in churches to capture some of the beauty. Stained glass windows, religious art, stone floors and walls, crypts, and architecture.
When I was completely calm and peaceful, I walked back toward the hotel to pick up a piece of chocolate yumminess for later and have lunch at Le Nuts. Then it was time to visit my favorite place in Bastogne. Le Mess!
Le Mess – 101st Airborne Museum
On 1 and 2 May this year, I visited Le Mess, the 101st Airborne Museum. Friends told me about the basement of the museum which contained a bombing experience that was NOT to be missed. As am empath who writes, I don’t do things by half and over those two days I sat through the bomb shelter experience 11 times. I needed to experience it in as many ways as possible so I could write about it. On my October trip, it only took three times for me to be satisfied I understood it on multiple levels. (And did you know they change up the bombing “soundtrack” every so often?)
The museum had a stronger energy this time. I had expected to sit through the bombing experience more than three times, but couldn’t. When I made my way upstairs to the second floor, the energy there hit me like a brick wall. It was so intense, it exploded in my head as gigantic waves kept rolling through. I did a lot of energy clearing on that floor around the soldiers there, the items, and my own “stuff.” After only two hours in the museum I had to leave. The headache from the energy was terrible.
Clearing the energy
The soldiers and I had a long talk after that about not making me sick when they need me. I spent some quiet time at my hotel clearing more energy, writing, and enjoying some coffee and that chocolate yumminess until dinner. It was bedtime before the headache was gone and energy had subsided.
What exactly was I picking up at the museum? Stories and energy from both sides. Americans and Germans. It isn’t just souls that carry energy but the items they touched and the places they fought and died.
And you know what’s interesting about the stories the soldiers and civilians tell? They are almost always the same. Each is usually asking for forgiveness, peace, and love. They want to release the anger the hold, even if only a little, and say goodbye so they can move on.
Want to know more about this? I’m writing a book about my experiences to be released May 2016.
© 2015 Jennifer Holik