A lot is being said at the moment about the differences between women and men, about sexual orientation, political correctness and discrimination. Last week, I was waiting at a traffic light on my bicycle, in front of me was a young man with road bike and a T-shirt with a rose print, a really cool guy. I told him straight away that I liked his T-shirt. I wondered whether he goes to the office in a T-shirt with rose print, wondered what his colleagues and manager might say. In any case, he has courage and maybe he’s even a trendsetter. When I was a young mum, carrying babies in a sling was very uncommon, especially men hardly wore babies. We still did it, we got strange looks and comments. Today, it’s normal for parents to take their children to town in a sling, for fathers to attend courses on baby care and to take parental leave. I don’t think that anything has changed in our genes. These boundaries, separation and ideas of what is and isn’t the done thing exist more in the mind. Things would certainly change in this world if we lived life more in the way we think is right, if we didn’t constantly check what one does, what’s currently fashionable in society. We have so many options in life, let’s use them the way many people already do. Enjoy trying it out!
The fields have been harvested, the yellow flowers by the side of the road announce the approaching autumn, morning mist and shorter days say goodbye summer. Every year, I find it hard to say goodbye to summer, to the sun, the blue sky and the beautiful clouds, to the happy children running around outside and the many people I meet. This year, it’s different. The summer depressed me with its storms, worldwide wildfires, I could not visit my daughter and grandson in England, the demeaning language used during the election campaign and the constant arguments about vaccination, the uncomfortable masks everywhere make it easy for me to say goodbye to this summer. I hope and wish so much that we can learn to do better after all these catastrophes this year, after the elections and the collective experience of threat so that my grandchildren and future generations can still have a good future on this planet. Please can we all contribute to making and keeping this Earth a good place to live.
Have a good new week
I used to love crackling bonfires and thunderstorms, the dark clouds, lightning and thunder. I always tried to be careful with fire and to find cover during a thunderstorm. These days, storm clouds and fire scare me more. Nature seems to become more unpredictable. An anxious glance at the sky when it’s hot, do I have enough protection from sun and fire, does the app show any weather front approaching. I think I am not the only one feeling like this. There are many climate related conflicts erupting at the moment, unnerved citizens are asking questions, political parties want to win voters in the upcoming the elections, there are arguments on who has what rights and responsibilities, how nature can best be protected. The current thunderstorms have turned into more severe storms, the heat in many countries leads to drought, wildfires and food shortage, in other regions lockdowns and famines threaten livelihoods. Many seem heartless these days, they say that other people and countries don’t concern us. We will probably only survive these deep crises if we pull together, each in their own way. What certainly doesn’t seem inviting in this regard is forced community and mutual support. When helping others becomes compulsory or calculated, it is done without love, it is perceived as uncharitable and it no longer is truly helping. Let’s observe people who really are helping each other to see what truly helping looks like: people help each other because they want to do it, because they feel sorry for the other person, because they think that they could end up in a similar situation and would be happy to receive help from others. Let’s help others truly and authentically, so we will feel useful for each other. Enjoy helping each other!
Many people encounter times of crisis or trauma during their lifetime. Some even encounter several or many. The media show many of these traumas and crises, the sensational reports seems to satisfy people in their relatively boring day to day lives. Much changes during trauma or crisis. The people concerned suffer considerable damages, losses, injuries, lose their belongings and loved ones. The strange thing with all these occurrences is: nobody wants to take blame for them. Nobody saw the disaster coming. Nobody knows anyone who would take responsibility. If anyone can be found guilty in hindsight, they will be seen to have acted maliciously and with intent and should be prosecuted. Politicians and celebrities suddenly become a bunch of goody-two-shoes promising billions which often cannot be claimed by the people concerned as they sadly are not eligible in this particular case. After a few days, when the worst is over, daily life takes over again for politics and media: new sensational reports, new matters of importance, new crises and traumas are in the making and must be prevented using expensive weapons, espionage, journalism and prevention programmes. When the next crisis, the next trauma appears, it becomes apparent that the weapons fire in the wrong direction, the warning systems are not functioning as intended, people who have been traumatised previously become violent, health systems collapse, competencies are missing. I learned at school that I live in the modern age, in a rich welfare state. Somehow, I have my doubts about that now. Despite digitalisation, artificial intelligence and cyber defence, it seems to me that wars, hunger, environmental destruction, trauma, hatred and hardship are not decreasing, it rather seems to me they are increasing. Or does it only seem that way? I hope we’ll succeed at learning to overcome trauma and crises, building resilience and learning from mistakes. If we can succeed, we can reduce crises and traumas over time instead of allowing the media to shower us with ever new crises and traumas. On this note, watch less crime stories and let’s personally get involved in looking after our own needs, our security and safety, our fellow human beings. We cannot always assume that others will do it and are any good at it.
A good new week
There are many people who big themselves up by belittling others. Why do people do this? They do this because they have a poor sense of self worth that they cannot admit to. When these people feel bad, they berate others, are mean, arrogant or aggressive. When we see people who behave like this we also tend to think negatively about them, react aggressively or are offended. And straight away we’re in a spiral of conflict. If you’re not nice to me, I’ll punish you. This way, the relationship slowly but surely becomes toxic. However, if we notice that a person who acts without love is a person who needs love themselves, a lot can change. We don’t feel attacked or offended any more. We can say: something troubles this person which is why they cannot act respectfully. We could say something nice, try to change the topic or ask how we can help the other person to feel better. The situation can become less tense, the other person feels that they are being respected even though they are not behaving very well. This is the key to loving relationships. If we manage to do this not just once, but over and over again, difficulties with others will disappear more and more.
Let´s have a good new week
Do you know that self-talk when something hasn’t worked as well as it could have done and straight away you think ‘how stupid, couldn’t you have paid more attention’. Or when looking in the mirror triggers thoughts like ‘how awful do you look again’. A strange comment from others and straight away you doubt yourself. Sadly, we are often treated without love as children and told that we’re not pretty enough, not good enough and that we make mistakes. These statements have engrained themselves deeply into our psyche and today we think about ourselves without love. There are, of course, also others who constantly need acknowledgement and who boastfully present themselves beautifully and perfectly. No, mistakes cannot happen to me. There are those who keep telling themselves I am the biggest, the prettiest, the best. We can put our minds at rest, we are quite similar in many ways: some things we excel in, others are a little tricky, we can all be charming and sometimes intolerable. If we could admit to ourselves that we are sometimes great, that we sometimes don’t manage so well, then many things would be easier in dealings with others. What’s so bad about admitting this to ourselves? When I succeeded at something, I can tell myself ‘well done’, when something doesn’t work, I can tell myself ‘just like everyone, I also don’t always succeed at everything, but I am still good enough’. With this simple method, life can be much easier and relationships with others are more relaxed. It does, however, require some practice to learn positive self-talk and therefore to become kinder to others.
Children often have many good ideas. The adults then tell them that doesn’t work, that’s not how it’s done, that’s not allowed. What a shame, this way we influence our children’s thinking, we rob them of the courage to try new things and as adults, we are merely copies of the norm because we have lost every bit of originality. Dare to do something new, something different to every day, try a new recipe, get to know new people, learn a new hobby, travel to a new place, get acquainted with different disciplines, with other opinions, talk to outsiders, listen to them. Only those who have the courage to look beyond their own nose will also have the courage to follow their own and original path in life. Everyone can follow. Doing something different to the mainstream, that requires courage. There is a reason for the German proverb ‘the world belongs to the brave’. There’s only one thing to consider on the topic of courage and that’s not to become too carefree. I’m wishing you a good week with a healthy dose of courage.
Can you remember the TV series Vicky the Viking (A 1970s German-Austrian-Japanese animated TV series for children about a young Viking boy)? If not, watch an episode. Young, cheeky Vicky always had good ideas and new solutions when the grown up, strong men got into trouble. Any difficulties can be overcome through Vicky’s clever ideas. Psychologists call this creative intelligence. Unfortunately, creative intelligence is not valued very highly in science and pedagogy. Creative people are often called nutters. But exactly these ‘nutters’ invented aeroplanes, the printing press and new academic fields, and discovered new continents. If we don’t want to stall, it is important to continually develop further and cultivate our creative intelligence. We only develop further if we look at our problems and face our problems. Without problems, there are no solutions. The more we avoid problems, the lower are the chances to learn something new and to find creative solutions. We unlearn everything we do not practice. If, as adults, we only copy established solutions, it isn’t surprising that most adults lose their creativity. What can we do to counteract this? Learn to love your problems and mistakes. Every problem and every mistake forces us to look for a solution. Instead of getting angry, ask yourself next time: what can I do now? Don’t force an answer, allow your brain to find a solution. Just like a computer, every brain is equipped with a search function. Sadly, most people are not aware of this. Try it out! Next time you encounter a problem, ask your brain to find a solution, give it time and you’ll come up with a solution. Just like with Vicky the Viking, sudden inspiration will come. It’s not our conscious, it’s the subconscious at work here. Now we only need the courage to express and test our solutions and put them into practice. That is the simple secret of every new invention. Have fun learning and inventing! Please do send me your ideas, I’d be happy to help you put new things into practice.
These days, we are constantly tempted to consume. The excessive supply in the supermarket, the streamed film, Wednesday’s, Thursday ‘s and Friday ‘s TV detective programmes are being delivered straight to the home. Travelling is meant to provide at least a short respite from the boring day to day life. We are being waited on in restaurants and by delivery services. Money is provided by the bank, the foreign language by Google translate. Pills are relied on to help for every minor ailment, let’s not do anything ourselves or tolerate anything. As convenient and tempting all this seems at first glance, this comfortable lifestyle is damaging in the long run. We lose more and more of our own skills. When we are being waited on, our muscles waste away, when we are absorbed by the TV, we are not thinking for ourselves, when we see the baddies in TV detective programmes, we are no longer caring about what we could to better ourselves. When we take medication for every minor ailment, we forget how to listen to our own body, we no longer know what it needs. Banks, society, media, politics and consumer industries determine our lives more and more because we have become too comfortable as citizens and let others do everything for us. A comfortable life is not a life that makes us strong and wise or keeps us healthy. Maybe next time we can be more careful when tempting products are offered to us and ask ourselves: do I really need this? What can I do myself to contribute to my health and a good world? Is the apple I can harvest myself not better than some chocolate bar from the supermarket. Is the food we cook ourselves not a nicer experience than having everything delivered? Does something I made or fixed myself not bring greater joy than the things that are being delivered perfectly? These is also another reason not to get too hooked on consumption. We all have no guarantee that the times of luxury will always stay as they are. What will people do if they have forgotten how to help themselves? It makes sense to acquire and retain own skills and competencies. Only through this we become and remain independent, are able to cope with life and can stay alive, even if some circumstances change.
I’m wishing you much joy in learning and practicing your own skills and competencies. Have a good week!
Many people believe they cannot do magic. However, we do magic every day, we just don’t notice it. Listen carefully to our magical lives. We say ‘you’ve magicked up a nice meal’, ‘you’ve put a spell on me’, ‘you look charming’, ‘what enchanting music’. Performing magic is no different to changing a situation. We produce something, transform something, invent something new, write new texts, develop new ideas. In 1920, Max Weber wrote in his famous work ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’ that the world was disenchanted following the Enlightenment. Everything became possible, everything was imaginable and doable, could be explained rationally. Everything wonder-ful and magical had to give way to rational and provable thinking. What a heartless world people have conjured up without knowing.
Maybe we can do magic and transform the world into a wonderful world again through our wonderful experiences that we may discover and encounter, through wonderful sounds that we hear, through beautiful images that we see and treats that we taste, through new things we invent, …
Let’s dare to enchant our own lives again. Magic is what fairytales are made of. Maybe one day we’ll say there was a time when people couldn’t see miracles and magic any more, a time when people fought about who was right, when people waged wars and treated each other badly. Fairytale heroes manage to overcome situations that aren’t satisfactory.
Have a magical new week.