30 Mar 2012

Magic Moon

The funniest moon I ever saw was by the Caribbean Ocean. There, the moon is "lying down", so when it is thin, it looks like a laughing mouth! The most beautiful moon: early one winter morning over the busy Aeschenplatz in Basel. It was full as it could get, round as a cheese, and completely yellow.
I am fascinatead by the moon; it is magic, and I am drawn to it in a mysterious way. I feel that the moon is influencing me, and I somehow enjoy this force of nature.
The moon is also part of my meditation practice. Whenever I catch a glimpse of it, I stand still, and smile up to the sky. Thank you moon, for being there. It makes me very happy to see you and I am proud to be part of the same Creation.

The Most Important Person

Who would you say is the most important person in your life? Your partner, or your child? Your friend, your mother? None of them, actually. It is you.
You are always around, you can always take care of yourself, support and pamper yourself, when you need it. And you are always there to love yourself.
What about the others...? Well, you can't count on or depend on anybody else to fulfill your needs.  Who knows where your partner or your best friend are tomorrow?
So don't forget to be really kind to yourself. You are the most important person in your life. And unless you have learnt to love yourself, you can't truly and fully love anybody else.

25 Mar 2012

Big City Crowds

Going down into the London Underground at Piccadilly Circus at 6 o'clock a Saturday evening is quite a "crowded" experience. You are being pushed and shoved, and you're lucky if nobody steps on your feet or if you don't lose anything. And actually it isn't much better overground.
As I spend a wonderful, long week end in London it strikes me that big cities are a crazy product of our society. Of course I understand the economical reasons why they have developed, but we really should organise them differently. First of all there should be much more green in a city! Big parks are not enough - there are areas where the only green you see are the labels of Sprite bottles...
No wonder the people I cross at the street or see in the huge supermarket don't really look happy. The only smiling faces I have seen belonged little children and lovers. I am trying to spread my little smile, but what effect does that have among 7,5 million people (plus countless tourists from all over the world)?  But no, I don't give up! :o)

22 Mar 2012

Power of a Smile

A colleague told me that when her 7-year old daughter is grumpy or mad, she asks her to give mummy a smile, and repeats this request very friendly until the daughter produces a strained smile. The mother will continue to ask for “a real smile!”, and at that  point the daughter usually relaxes and gives her a proper smile – and the annoyance is gone.
That’s just what it is about: when you smile you relax the muscles in your face and this relaxation normally spreads down to your shoulders and belly. The tension of irritation or bad temper is released and you actually feel better.
Of course you don’t need a mother to tell you to smile: whenever you feel negativity creeping in upon you, tell yourself to smile. At first it may just be strained, but if you continue you’ll be able to make it a real smile – and you will immediately feel better!

21 Mar 2012

This Food...

Most of us, living in secularized Christian societies, do not say grace before meals. We might even find it a bit awkward when somebody suddenly does it.
I still find it worthwhile to stand still for a second before raising the cutlery or bringing the sandwich to my mouth. To think with gratefulness about Mother Earth, and all the people (and animals) that have brought the food to my plate. To recognize any other person at the table with a little smile. It's such a pleasure to share a meal with nice company!
Try it out: just say a simple Thank You in your head, or use this version of a Buddhist contemplating before eating:

This Food is the gift of the whole universe,
the earth, they sky, and much hard work.
I thank all the living being that have made this food:
the insects, the animals, and the people.

I only put on my plate as much as I should eat
and I will chew it slowly, in order to really taste it.
I eat this food to be healthy and happy,
and to live with my fellow men in love and understanding.

Thank you, Universe, for a nice lunch with a  very dear Friend!

18 Mar 2012

The Power of a Compliment

I have to admit it: a nice compliment brightens up my day!
Out of the blue somebody - a friend, a colleague or a complete stranger - makes a positive remark about what I wear, how I look or act. When it's about my appearance that might sound superficial, but my surface is a part of me. I might have put a little effort in combining colors and in looking "neat and tidy" and it simply makes me happy that others appreciate that effort :-)
I also like giving compliment, assuming that the other person enjoys being seen. Yes, basically it all comes down to that: the pleasure of really seeing others and the pleasure of being seen ourselves.

17 Mar 2012

Shared Sorrow

Yesterday, we said farewell to a dear friend and family member. A small group of people - most family and friends live far away, are very old or already dead.
It was a moving funeral; many flowers, beautiful music and songs, and kind words of remembrance. A long, good life came to an end, and not only the youngest grandson cried.
In these occasions we move closer toghether.  We are faced with deep sorrow and loss, and we try to alleviate it for one another. No mechanical hugs - we hug with mindfulness, conveying our heartfelt compassion. We are touched at our inner core, knowing what it feels like and knowing that this will happen to us (again).
Why don't we always stand so close to each other? Where is this compassion in everyday life?

14 Mar 2012

Persons Who Touch Your Life, and Your Soul

Man is inherently good. That is my firm belief, and that's why I meet all new people with an open mind and open heart. Of course, not always contact is established.
However, with some people, there is not only contact, but it is really special. Very deep, going right through various protective layers. You feel at home, relaxed and happy in their company.
Even though your may be quite different, there is a mutual understanding without many words. Perhaps you have a common set of values. Or perhaps it's because they also have an open heart...
Somehow these dear friends touch your heart and soul. And as with a magic wand they touch your life, and make it shine.

(Dear B1,  thank you for the beautiful heading!)

13 Mar 2012

Break Your Rules

We all have an idea of how we want or think we should live in order to stay healthy. Most of us don't always live that way, and some of us only now and then. The stricter among us try hard, but still get a backlash every now and then. Combined with a really bad consciousness...
Well, let go of that! Know your limits, stay within them most of the time, but let yourself jump over them every now and then. Life is too short to be fanatically attached to your rules. Get in some softness.
Don't punish yourself because you're having the whole bag of M&M's today. Enjoy them, stop eating when you start feeling sick, and then resolve to wait quite some time before doing it again ;o)

12 Mar 2012

The Wall

An infinite wall
white, as in Greece.
Is it protecting me,
or, more likely,
fencing me in?

Luckily a window
(small, but still...)
gives a glimpse
of the other side:
light blue freedom!

There's still no handle
on the window,
but I know: one day
it will have developed
and I can open it up.

Then I will concentrate
all my energy,
all my happiness,
and all my courage
- and fly out!

11 Mar 2012

Home, Sweet Home

Due to a bad knee, no hiking this week-end. Suddenly I had so much time at home! Time to hoover and wipe without stress, to sort out drawers, to do sewing jobs that had been lying around for ages, and to clean some windows. As a finishing touch I bought a small red primula, to enhance the feeling of freshness.
It was great to round off with a biking tour in the sun to air out myself as well, and then enjoy a warm cup of tea at home.
What a lucky person I am, who has a safe home to always return to, and what a pleasure it is to keep it fresh and beautiful!

10 Mar 2012

Never the Same, Always Renewed

Since the trees still have no leaves, I can see the Big River from my window. Its water flows endlessly. The river is never the same, it's always renewed.
That is how I want to live: experiencing every day as completely new. Passed days might have included mistakes; I learn from them, but leave them behind. A new day is a new fragment of life.  What a wonderful feeling of freshness!
It's like seeing life with the unbiased eyes of  a small child. I close my eyes, turn to the river and open them up. And I see the river for the first time.

The river when the trees had leaves

9 Mar 2012

Let the Mind Rest

Our minds are always busy. During the day we process and comment all kinds of impressions; we constantly think or plan.  At night we're doing the same thing in our dreams. Poor mind, always at work...
That's why it feels so good to turn off the input. You don't even have to meditate, just concentrate on what you are doing Right Now, without any speech balloon. It's such a relief to relax from inside.
Finally the mind quiets down, and can get some rest.
The effect is amazingly refreshing.

8 Mar 2012

Accepting Pain

The normal reaction to bodily pain (like headache or back pain) is to tense up. You want the pain to leave.  So the aching part gets all stiff and it actually hurts even more.
Try instead to feel the pain, to breathe into it. Try to let it take its place, and perhaps even expand. Don't push it away.
The pain has come to tell you something, and if you relax and listen, you might even understand what that is. And if not, you will notice that it gets less strong if you allow it to be. You have recognized the pain, and it an stop shouting to get your attention...

6 Mar 2012

Reiki Light

Reiki is a healing practice, where you concentrate your energy and lead it through your hands. Not everybody knows how to do reiki, but what we all can do is showing parts of our bodies that are in pain a little extra attention.
My right knee hurts. I rub my palms against each other to warm them up, and I gently put my hands on the knee, concentrating on feelings of love. Then I just relax.  The warmth of my hands and of my caring thoughts penetrate the pain. I am not trying to push it away, but just let it be - and let it go.
I am convinced that the effect of the warm hands and thoughts is deeper than simply a "good feeling" at that moment. We can all do so much more to heal ourselves - and others - than we think...

5 Mar 2012

Dear Elderly People

Dear little white-haired man, slowly puffing your cigar on a park bench,
dear little bent over lady, crossing the street with small, careful steps,
I feel such a tenderness towards you. You have shown us the world, explained what's right and wrong. You have taught us how to make pancakes or drive a car, you've always been there to listen and give us good advice.
Now that you are getting old, it's like we are forgetting you, or we don't need you anymore. We grow impatient when you're so slow at the cashier, we frown at you when you forget what we said just a minute ago, and we put you away to live in homes for the elderly.
What kind of "civilization" is ours, that actually makes it impossible us from letting you end your lives surrounded by children and grandchildren...?
At least we should take notice of you, talk to you, and show you our appreciation.
I will write a letter to dear tante Lisette, aged 86, still organizing family reunions, and tell her how much I love her.

4 Mar 2012

Feel Your Body

How does my body feel today?
In our hectic lives, crammed with activities, we rarely ask ourselves that question. We rarely listen to our bodies. Unless they scream for attention, we just take them for granted.
Be grateful for having a body. Once a day, stand still and feel it. Take four slow breaths and scan through your whole body.
First breath: your head, neck, and shoulders.
Second breath: your chest, arms and hands.
Third breath: your back, solar plexus and stomach.
Fourth breath: every part below your waistline, ending with the soles of your feet.
So - how does your body feel today?

3 Mar 2012

Today's poem

Slow down
Listen to the faintest sound
See the subtle shades

Speak less
Do less
Be more

2 Mar 2012

Shadow Art

To me, shadows are art. I don't know any official definition of art, but the way shadows open up imagination, their play of lines and shapes, the expressions from sharp to blurry, the shades of grey...
The shadows of leafless trees during winter time, for example: straight, strong trunks and the intricate web of branches - amazing.
You can see all kinds of wondrous patterns and shapes. And the shadow of myself, a moving object where nothing stays the same. Like a symbol of our ever changing existence. We are just a play of shadows here on earth, but we can turn that play into art.
6 o'clock in the morning, on asphalt

1 Mar 2012


"Blackbirds singing in the dead of night"... and in the dead of winter. Few sounds make us happier on a dark morning in early March. Finally the earth is waking up again and life is coming back!
After a long winter with constant lack of sunshine and warmth it feels as if we're reborn. Which we actually are - together with the rest of nature.
The blackbird's song makes us want to get out light and bright clothes, buy a bunch of tulips or change our hairstyle - somehow we want to make a new start. Why not use the extra energy to lay off some bad, old habit? I'll cut down on sweets, and only have them on week ends. The power of a song :o)