Expressing "Joie de vie", the Tour Eiffel lights up at dusk every evening, in a golden sparklig blaze of glory!
In 1972 I was having a "hard time" in my life as my 13 year relationship (marriage) seemed to be coming apart. So, I thought I would try consulting a "psychic" in hopes that they might help me see beyond (into spiritual reasons?) where my limited vision could see and what was ahead. As it turned out,the Guide for this psychic was an Old Chinese Taoist Sage. Today, I remember three things he told me:
1 You will have a lifetime of rebuilding. (Might 3 marriages qualify?)
2 There is no one above you and there is also no one below you, for you are each on your own individual spiritual path.
3 Someday you will go to Marseilles and have deja vu.
Never say 'never'! This last one was so "ridiculous" that I remembered it. But, when I began making this trip a reality, I found a tour from Marseilles to Paul Cezanne's studio, so I booked my plane tickets into a out of Marseilles. Then, the tour cancelled, but I already had my plane tickets bought. So now, in 2017 I finally found the truth of those words! An the "deja vu" may have been the familiarity of the pine trees, hills and rocks that I noticed as I rode the bus from the Marseilles airport to the St. Charles metro/train station.
Notre Dame de la Gard hillside
Reawakening Who I Really AM!
On this journey, I also rediscovered my "curious little boy within" that is still in love with Life Lived! That is what this web page is about. "Joie de vie!"
It's time to enjoy those "Once in a Lifetime" adventures, at least ONCE! Don't put off enjoying your life. Life is to be enjoyed! Joy, Life, Beauty, Love, Truth, Light: are all part of (aspects) God-Goddess, You and All of Creation!
ABOVE PHOTO - After dinner shot of John M. Kohlenberger (4 June, 2017) at the 58 Eiffel Tower Restaurant. And my French wife thought this was too expensive? Life, light, love, living and laughing are to be enjoyed! GOD WANTS YOU TO ENJOY THOSE ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENTS - at least ONCE!
My Dance of Life … in France … by Rev. John M. Kohlenberger (June 2017)
Going to France in 2017 was a real eye opener for me. I saw a culture that was happy, celebrative and not afraid to express inner joy, the “Joie de vie”! I saw pianos in every train station I was n (nearly a dozen) and two in Gare de Lyon I Paris. People would sit down and play for a while and as they would leave, often with baggage I hand, others would come along and play for a while until they were done. Some were very good, accomplished keyboard artists and some were clearly beginners, but they were not afraid to be heard!
Out in the streets, in the squares or “Place”s people would play their instrument of choice, in public. In Avingnon, I remember, as I relaxed in the old Roman Square, first there was a harpist. When she was done, along came a saxophonist. When he was finished, a man came to play his trumpet. These were people not afraid to be “out there” in public expressing their inner joy of music. And this was not the only city I saw musicians playing their instruments out on the street or in the public square. Nonprofessional musicians, all.
When I got to Paris, the first evening I was there, I had a feeling that “it’s good to be back”. I don’t know why or what that meant. It was just a feeling I had. And, then, my hotel was half a block from a major boulevard with the Louvre Museum at one end and the famous Opera (where the “Phantom of the Opera” originated, as a mostly true story) with its golden dome at the other. I had to celebrate the evening with a nice French dinner (Agneau et haricots verts) a glass of wine followed by cup of café. And as a Starbucks was just down the block, across the street, I finished the evening off with a cappuccino, before returning to my hotel! My dinner, by the way, cost half the price I would pay in the United States!
While in Paris, I was thrilled to meet Martine's niece, Caty, and her husband for dinner near my hotel. We taked like old friends for about 3 hours before we had to get to bed. Not onlt were we the same wavelength, but I learned more about my former wife Martine and why she left this life at such a early age (68). And to add to this, two days later I met my old friend Charlie, who worked at the same company I did, and was friends with, in the 1970s. We waalked Paris from about 10:30 AM to 7 PM, catchig up with old times clear to the present, and found that we are still kindred souls. Charlie took me to Le Jardin du Luxembourg, the Pantheon and Saint Sulpice and a few other places I had never visited before. We also had lunch together. What at treat it was, meeting family and friend in Paris!
A few nights later, I had dinner in the Eiffel Tower. They had two security checks to get to the tower, but everybody was processed quickly. The dinner was great and the view was fabulous and the people I shared a table with were very gracious. French cuisine is one of the best in the world. They certainly know how to make a tasty meal with an artistic presentation!
During my cruise on the Seine, in Paris, I saw some people, singly as well as in small or large groups just hanging out by the bank (they call it the “cay”) enjoying Sunday evening by the river, the boats going by, the sunset and just being out in nature – in the middle of the city.
Then as we cruised on up river, enjoying the many historical sites along the Seine, I saw other larger groups of people, some just hanging out together, some listening to music and some even dancing to their favorite music. These were people, singly and in large and small groups just out for the evening to enjoy life together! I might add that this was the many, not just a few.
And then, as we left the Eiffel Tower and the River Cruise docks, I noticed two carousels, one either side of the river, working, with adults as well as children enjoying them. Every major city that I visited had at least one working Carousel in it! These people, and this culture, has not forgotten how to enjoy life and let one’s little child come out to play once in a while!
My last night in France, in Marseilles, after dinner I was walking back to my hotel when I heard some beautiful classical music playing a few streets away, so I went to investigate. A few blocks out of my away, I found dancers, kind of like line dancers, going through their motions to this beautiful recorded music, out in public, in the square in front of a closed performance hall. They did not appear to be paid performers, they were just plain towns people enjoying life together, expressing their joy of life through movement and music.
And, then, rather than just diving by the Moulin Rouge, as I had previously done with my French family, on this trip, I finally visited the inside of the Moulin Rouge theater! What an eye-opener! As I dropped all the restrictive judgments that I learned from my parents, I found myself enjoying the whole show; the girls with lots or little clothing, the animals, the clowns and the acrobats. I enjoyed it all! Lights, color, music, movement! This, too, is life enjoyed!
My friend Charlie, who is now retired and lives in Paris, that I worked with and was friends within California over 4 decades ago calls this “Intentional Beauty”. He says that he sees it throughout the culture, in grand the parks, the curved paths, the flower gardens, the statues, ponds and fountains and in the preservation of the older buildings, all out in public places, at public expense.
Of course I saw this “Intentional Beauty” also in the music, dance and expression of the human spirit, out in public, not only in the parks, monuments, buildings and plazas, but even inside the train stations.
So what did all this mean to me?
Immediately on returning, I realized that I was in love with this culture, because it is not so focused on the money or the idea that “I’ve got mine and I’m not sharing it with you”! What a joy and feeling of freedom, knowing that you are a part of the world and a cultural heritage!
The French are also very courteous, saying “Bon jour” when they meet – everybody, every time! One man even reminded me to say “Bon jour” on meeting him, when I treated them like just another (American) person. He was one of my tour guides!
And, the response for most things is, “Merci”. People re thanked for the slightest favors! What a great way to live!
A little over a week after returning, I have realized that this culture is much like the little boy I once was. That little boy was all about enjoying life! Everything was exciting, as I “discovered” new things, people, ideas and feelings in life! In French, you might call this, “Joie de vie”.
But, that little boy still lives in my heart! So traveling to France and rediscovering “Joie de vie” has been a renewing experience for me! And I intend to let that little boy come out to play more often, now!
So, no matter what you think or have thought about me or labels you placed on me … You can call me John, or Jean (pronounced in French), or even Joie … seeking only to enjoy discovering more life, love, loving and being loved !
I am who I am! This is who I Really Am - "Joie de vie"! I had to go to France to rediscover that!"
P.S. My former wife Martine eventually found that she had to move on, because she was losing the energy to participate in The Joy of Life … or in her native French language, “Le joie de vie”!
Lavendar fields by St Maries de la Mer - A painting by Vincent Van Gogh
NOTES FROM MY ADVENTURE and Dance with Life:
15 May - Tour to the Camargue and St. Maries de la Mer - The original tour did not take place, to St Marie's de la Mer, but the tour company found an alternate, from Aix end Provence and they will drive me to and from Aix from Avingnon! Thank you Martine! I was in tears at St Maries de la Met, as I lit a candle to Martine and felt her love! I relaxed at the Camargue wild life center. Saw the black bulls, white horses, flamingos, storks and the ducks and the rice fields that the Camargue is famous for! In the Camargue, all cowboys (guardians) ride white horses ... among the black French bulls that are gentler than the Spanish bulls!
I later, saw the black bulls and "guardians" (dressed in white) in the bull ring during a Course Camargue, in St, Remey de Provence. These bulls live for another day, as the Guardians job is only to grab a ribbon from between the horns, without getting injured. Martine wanted to take me to one of these spectacles!
My deceased wife, Martine, told me that she wanted to visit St.Maries de la Mer again, as she had visited there with her family as a small girl. She also wanted to take me there so we could share the experience. So, Martine was with me often as I traveled in France. She was glad to meet me in the church at St Marie's de la Mer! (I was in tears as I felt her presence and lit a candle for her.) And, I felt, she was glad that I finally visited southern France (Provence) and the Camargue where the ducks and rice grow - the ducks and rice fields that I had seen on TV when I was18 years old - and thought "That might be an interesting place to visit, someday"! It took 60 years, but that small "idle" thought helped bring me to France to visit to the Camargue where ducks, flamingos and many water foul live in or near the water that helps the rice to grow!
"Thoughts are things". They have emotional and electromagnetic POWER!
He is traditionally named as the builder of the first church on the site of the present Aix Cathedral.
Mary Magdalene later left him to continue his apostolate alone when she withdrew to the solitude of a cave, which later became a Christian pilgrimage site Sainte-Baume. On the day she knew she was to die she descended into the plain so that Maximinus could give her communion and arrange her burial. Her sarcophagus is now at the Basilica of St Mary Magdalene at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, along with that of Sidonius, Marcelle, Suzanne and Maximinus, after whom the place was subsequently named.
He died on 7 June, now the day of his feast. In the 3rd or 4th century his remains were placed in a sarcophagus.
John revisits Cafe de Nuit, in Arles, that Vincent painted.
NOTES FROM MY JOURNEY ... as another soul from the oversal that waemitted Vincent Van Gogh!
Sunday, May 14- Van Gogh Tour to Arles: We parked at Place Demartine, near the Creperie where The Yellow House (where Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted – a picture of) was, until it was bombed in WWII. Vincent Van Gogh was in Arles from Feb 1888 (?) to May the next year. The Hotel de dieu (hospital) is where Vincent healed his ear for 4 months, then to theAuberge RavouxinAuvers-sur-Oisenear Paris. Vincent died 3 months later. Disease & death due to lead, alcohol & (anisette?) poisoning. On today’s tour, we saw the restaurant that Van Gogh painted, by the old Roman square. Not originally yellow, it was just the light at night! (Plus Vincent was trying to bring joy into his life with yellow & sunflowers) The “experts” claim that the light on the white wall was yellowish, so Van Gogh emphasized it! This painting is the first to show stars in the sky … the stars that were watching over Vincent. Toulouse Lautrec recommended Arles to Van Gogh. Gaugin was here briefly, until Vincent tried to kill him, before removing his own ear. I shall return!
Images of Arles - Painted by Van Gogh
The Yellow House - Arles
Van Gogh Cafe de Nuit - Arles
La Hotel de Dieu - Arles
May 19 - I have already visited the mental hospital outside Saint Remey de Provence that Van Gogh was in and painted nearby scenes. It is still in use! The view was beautiful when I/we were there. Van Gogh would have liked to paint that scene, WITH PURPLE MOUNTAINS, BLUE SKY, WHITE CLOUDS AND GREEN OLIVE TREES! I have 3 more days to scout around Arles! (and see about my deja vu.).
After dinner I took a walk by the Rhone river, before bed! Van Gogh painted "Starry Night" in this city, along this same river, but from the other side (the island).
22 May (Mon) – Still in Avignon - Checked on train schedules, to Lyon and Carcassone.
Went to Van Gogh Foundation in the morning and found that Vincent kew he was "successsful" - or would be, as I read this: "I will, someday be as the wheat, even as I am now even though the towns-people only think of me as common grass." - Vincent van Gogh.
Then, I went to the Cafe la Nuit (the restaurant he painted) for lunch, Then I walked to Van Gogh's meditation chapel in the afternoon, but the place closed. Talked with Canadian couple after a light snack for dinner.
NOTE: Vincent and I ahare seveeral things. We both are, or have been, artists, smoked a pipe, interested in religion and spirituality, meditate, love beauty, color, nature, people, However, I stay away from the "chemicals" he used to try to find peace in his life. (Is this my "deja vu"?)
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” – Mark Twain
One more thing:
24 May- Experience–on the train traveling to Narbonne (into Cathar country): Martine is here, reminding me, again, of our times by the water and boats, in Newport Beach CA when we first met! (I am traveling through a similar area.) We both like that environment! Jesus says that he liked it here, too! "It is a good area where things grow readily and well ... as you are, through new experiences, letting go the old, while in the old, letting it rest (in peace), so you can grab the new!"
In Memory of my French Girl
As I walked by in the rain, I heard, "Tres bon".
Full of life and color, like Martine was on earth.
Since my former wife, Martine, was originally from France, I took a small bag of ashes from home to "place" in her homeland. On my adventure, I stayed in Toulouse so I could go to both Albi and Lourdes. And, as Martine had once been Sister Maria,a nun at Lourdes and mentioned, late in life, that she would like to go there, on the afternoon of May 30 I left some ashes in Lourdes, among the flowers by this pond.
As I initially passed the pond, not knowing if I would walk in the rain all the way to the Grotte, I felt that hearing the words "Tres bon" was a "sign" of where I could leave Martine's ashes, if I did not find a "better" place.
On my return walk to the train station, after walking to the Grotte and taking a tour of the town and seeing Bernatette's cave, I remembered the ashes in my pocket as I neared this pond and so I left some among the flowers and colored plants, in this place of peace and beauty with access to the universes through the roundabout. I'm sure that Martine's soul feels honored and free.
P.S. I believe that the love and light activated in this act of honor inspired my first wife, Chris, to release her diseased and tired mind and body from this earth, 12 hours later in California.
A beautiful roundabout, leading to anywhere and everywhere.
Martine's words to John, as given through English medium Chris Meredith:
"As you know, I always loved the gardens in the earth planes. I always appreciated nature in all its abundance and this is where I saw the Living God in great manifestation within the face of a flower and within the strength of a tree; God of the granite and the rose, soul of the sparrow and the bee."
And so it is this great manifestation of life that surrounded her in the physicl world and now surrounds he in her Garden of The Soul which has, and contiinues to, enriched her life.
Direct Spiritual Communication
through John, the developing Medium (below)
We are ALL ONE, in nd with God-Goddess!
A Comment from Martine:
This comment was given to me through English Spiritualist Medium, Chris Meredith:
"In your travels (in France for a month, May 8 to June 9), of course Martine has gone with you (as she had promised, through another source), and of course she reminds us that she went much cheaper than you. But, she is very pleased that you were able to take this trip and to have these life experiences and to engage with family and memories. And it brought great joy to her to see you enjoy yourself and (for her) to be able to have participated (with you) in this journey."
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