The Austrian wind is a different kind of wind. There is a menthol like chill to it as it whistles through the corridors of Vienna. Tipping your face to the sky, you are surrounded by the towering, elaborate skeleton of an empire, whose time has come and gone. Yet its grandiosity remains. The sounds of horse drawn carriages still echoes through the streets, but instead of monarchy, they pull tourists now. Vienna was not a city that people simply lived in. It was a city that people became and it was a city that became them. People identified with it to the degree that those who shaped it, remain like imprints. Thought forms all around the city. Memories that play out in rooms that have a fresh coat of paint, but remain as they were centuries ago. It is a breathtaking city aesthetically, with its Golden statues atop medieval buildings, Romanesque monuments, Baroque castles and unfathomably ornate cathedrals that pierce the clouds.
One of my close friends, Frederic lives in Vienna. A man whose non physical sensitivity is so high that I feel like I have a kind of 'littermate' every time we are together. Yesterday, he packed a raw food picnic lunch and led us around the city. We wandered through the various sites and made wishes on coins that we tossed into an ancient fountain. He and Blake took me shopping for a dirndl, the traditional dress for females in the Germanic culture. The woman who managed the shop spoke no English. She guessed my size and once I selected the ones I liked, she came into the fitting room to dress me. Despite knowing that I spoke no German, she continued her monolog while she forcefully elevated my bust under the blouse and cinched the ribbon around my waist as tight as it would possibly go. She picked up my finger to see if I was wearing a wedding ring and let it fall with seeming disappointment; then switched the bow in the ribbon around my waist to a different side, explaining that I should tie the ribbon to that side in order to advertise that I am not married. I was struck by the intense remembering of what it was like in past lives to be a foreign bride. The odd mix of fear and safe containment that came with being prepared by an older women for a new life, where you suddenly belonged to an unknown man, foreign culture and life. Standing in a room, being fussed over, so as to please the traditions of the new culture that now own you as a prized possession; with people talking about you instead of to you. I found one that I absolutely love. I think the dirndl is one of the most deliciously sexy forms of traditional clothing I’ve ever seen.
We ended up at the Schonbrunn Palace . We walked around the front of the sprawling yellow estate, into the courtyard. Gardens and pathways led to the gigantic Neptune fountain with statues of Neptune with his trident, a nymph, a sea goddess, Achilles, multiple tritons and mer-horses. Beyond that, a perfectly groomed hillside is crowned by a second gorgeous, airy building above a small lake, called the Gloriette. Below it, there is a row of benches overlooking Vienna. It was the kind of place that made you feel out of place without a gown. I was actually missing the heavy feel of glamorous fabric against my shins.
We sat on a bench and had our picnic there, while we waited for 6 of our friends to show up and accompany us on a tour into only some of 1,441 dizzyingly extravagant rooms of the palace. I have many more friends in Europe than I do in the United States and in general, they tend to be much closer friends. I have the kind of humor where I become jokingly patriotic about America when I’m in Europe. I love to tease my European friends about the problems with “their countries”. When in truth, even though there are some very “American” things about me as well as some things I absolutely adore about America compared to other countries, I resonate more with Europe, especially the more Latin cultures of Europe. My sense of belonging is greater and as you know from previous blogs, leaving makes my heart ache.
We ran out of time winding our way through the palace and had to drive back to the apartment to change into proper clothes for the talk I was to give that night. We all made our way through the chilly security process at the UN compound. I gave my talk there in front of a group of people who have tried to dedicate their life to making a difference. Like most government organizations I have mixed feelings about the UN. And this visit, where I got to actually briefly observe the organization and people belonging to it in process, has intensified that polarity of feelings. The vast majority of the people there loved the discussion. I found them to be open and intelligent both mentally and emotionally… Game Changers. But there was one man in the audience who did not share the welcoming sentiment. My presence infuriated him and during the discussion, he took the microphone. After someone else in the room fought him off of the microphone, he continued to shake his head at everything I said and demonstratively tell the woman sitting next to him about all his disagreements with me. It is an absolute wonder that he stayed in the room. It was the equivalent of trying to sing an opera while someone in the audience is booing. Regardless of my ability to cognitively understand his perspective, his energy stained the overall feeling flavor of the group.
Energy Diagnosis of Vienna:
The dominant negative vibration in Vienna is: HIDING. Interestingly, this vibration is a result of the various wars. World War 2 hit Vienna with particular vengeance. And people here, hid in their houses for long periods of time, barricading themselves off in defense. This feeling of hiding for the sake of one’s own survival is literally all over the buildings of this place. But this resistant, defensive attitude that accompanies the desire to hide has permeated the culture in Vienna and has made its way into the modern mindset. The people of Vienna are needlessly defensive with one another. They do not shy away from conflict, instead they willingly argue, as it is not a social faux pas to do so. Except in watching their energy fields when they do it, they are not comfortable with it. None of them actually enjoy it. Some people (and even cultures) feel more alive when they argue. The people of Vienna do not. They have simply become accustomed to the discomfort of interpersonal friction, which is the inevitable result of a permanent state of defense. Inside that state of defense, the people of Vienna are hiding. They are hiding from themselves and hiding from each other. But you guessed right… there is a vulnerable sweetness they are protecting behind that bitter-spice shell and I can’t stop wishing they would let that side come out with one another. A good question for the people of Vienna to ask themselves is: What am I hiding from?
The dominant positive vibration of the city is: LEGACY. Legacy is a very unusual vibration to see as a dominant pattern in a place because it is so much about the past. It is the passing of the baton from the past so to speak. In legacy, something of value is transmitted by a predecessor and as a result those things of value can stay alive throughout time instead of die over time. In almost everyone in Vienna is an heir of having to live up to something impressive that has come before. I would be interested to observe the average family interactions in the city. I would bet, having observed so many Viennese adults now, that children are expected to live up to or even improve upon the achievements of the adults in their lives. There is a great desire to not just be approved of by others, but to impress others. The collective consciousness of the people of Vienna are particularly attached to their artistic achievements and intellectual achievements. This is inspiring to me because it means that the many great art forms and intellectual discoveries that can be credited to Austrians will be preserved here instead of discarded. I’m all for preserving things that have value. I just often tend to disagree with people about what is and isn’t useful to preserve. And when we pass on a legacy, we provide the new generation with something of value to stand on. Like a launching pad, we pass on a level of excellence that causes an acceleration of expansion. There is nowhere to go but beyond what has been done before and achieve more than what was achieved before. We become greater and greater. It is no doubt a cardinal focal point of world innovation.
Today, I am flying for nearly 12 hours back to the USA. I return to France in November. Until then, I will be in the states. I can feel his absence of my son in my bone marrow on this trip. I’m bringing him home a music box from Switzerland, a new book and a mini Matterhorn mountain made of Swiss chocolate. One day soon, I plan to take him on some of these trips with me. His education would be better served by experiencing the world for himself rather than hearing about it from a classroom. But as for now, this European tour is officially complete.