it has been a dry year for my blog so far as I have been busy working freelance (in addition to my fulltime job) for a German government program that is aiming to train 4000 professionals in three years to improve working with parents, especially on "Bildung". This is a German word meaning education, but has a strong connotations on "all thing school", like reading, writing, maths and their higher siblings. This government program has been established to improve the number of kids finishing school with a degree and most of all to improve the German ecenomy.Now I just came back from a two-day-meeting with my collegues who are also trainers in this program. We had two days together to talk about what we are doing.
Some were calling for more structure, for a form to shape and to hand this over to our trainees. Others were more concerned about seeing the individuals in our courses and to teach them according to their needs.There were moments of hot discussions and opposition. Then some of us called for a circle with a talking stick to share our view points rather than to hit each other with arguments.
Everyone was asked to get up and get the the talking stick from the circle center, go back to the respective chair, sit down, take a deep breath before starting to speak. After finishing his or her thoughts the talking stick would be placed again in the center. This slows down the pace and leaves room for thought between the statements. In the most beautiful way the truth undfolded as we sat in circle and each of us shared his or her bit of truth.When I took the talking stick I (re-)discovered how much I love to be part of this project. Like our government I am totally for better education (even though our reasons might differ slightly:)
. On the outer I am for better education because it is a human right and a children´s right. On another level I feel connected to those who are working for a different way of learning. A way of learning where teaching is not equalled with "power over", with one side deciding what the other side has to learn. A way of learning together, of sharing knowledge in the circle, a way of learning with fun and enthusiasm and a way of sharing and learning from the heart. I feel happy and proud that I am part of this change of paradigms and humbled by the thought of those who have been working in the same field for some time already, like Professor Gerald Hüther
and many others. I had a vision that the way we are sharing our knowledge with our trainees will inspire them to connect with parents in the same respectful and non-pushy way, and I hope that the parents will pass on some of this to their children and to to the institutions that take care of their children. We have th chance to throw another pebble into the pond to from crcles and circles and circles...This morning I grabbed a book by Barry Brailsford, that has been sitting close to my bed for some time: "The Song of the Eagle". Reading about people crossing the Pacific in small boats and the vision and commitment it took
made me realize that my vision of a better way of learning is embraced by the even bigger vision of carrying forth the light and making this earth a better place.
I was able to embrace my capacity to be a changemaker today. "The brightest fire in all the heavens is our life. The spark that lies deep within each of us. It is unique, the essence of our being, the questing spirit, that finds joy in all around us and laughter amidst the darkness. That fire is of the child within, tha dancer, the artist and the song, that is our own. Fire is spirit, Fire is of the Source, Fire is of the Central Sun that warms the day and calls forth the seed. Fire is ever present in the making of the child and the birth. It is new life and life continuous, it is change and rebirth. Fire is transfomation."Barry Braislford, The Song of the Eagle
I want to embrace the empty space of my heart,
the Point Zero
where all the beautifull possibilities spring from.
Sometimes - instead of embracing it -
I try to fill it
You know what I mean:
Reading, chatting on the phone for hours,
watching tv, whiling away the hours.
I then feel like I am diving under my life
instead of living it.
So THIS is my commitment:
I will sit with the empty space inside of my heart for five minutes every day.
Feeling the emptyness.
And letting well up whatever wants to be born from the empty space:
Feeling lazy and unworthy,
Tears and sorrow - if they want to show up,
Or the sweet kiss from a muse.
Anything is welcome.
For five minutes every day I will embrace the empty space of my heart.
I have been reading a series of books last weekend, written by a guy called Heyoka Merriefield. It is a collection of stories about people who try to live in balance. The first volume describes how the ceremony of the sacred pipe came to the tribes in the plains and how this ceremony created balanced living and peace.
In this first volume called "Eyes of Wisdom" i found the following quote:
"`Most peolpe paint pictures of things they see to represent the animals, birds, or people," replied Longtail. "There is another way to approach painting. Our Father is the Great Spirit and our Mother is the Earth; together they create all life. If a painter can enter into the sacred void , the womb of the Creatress, and create from this place , then the paintings will awaken with inner life.. It is our birthright to create life through our own creations because we have inherited that power from our Parents. If we create fromour heart centers and from the sacred center of the Universe, then our creations my wake up with life force of their own. The World of Spirits chooses to come into the World of Substance when we create art from the Center od Creation". Heyoka MerrifieldIsn´t it soooo beautiful???
You may want to have a look at the authors creations on his website .I am totally in love with his rainbow goddess. I will be a very attentive goddess in the goddess business e-course at goddessguidebookcircle.com to be able to purchase this treasure one day;)
I am very grateful to have found this video via @PermaGoddesss and Patrick Whitefield.
It shows so beautifully why cooperation is the clue, not competition. Happy sigh. I totally adore, too, that Professor Suzanne Simard calls the old trees in the Forest "Mother Trees" and that she thinks that they "teach" (as in "passes on information" younger trees. The Mother Tree even connects to and shares with other species. Indigenous people have known this all the way, but still it is good to see that academics are discovering the "root connections, too.
Please watch the video and be enchanted. (Mind you though that you will be shown some forest clearence, too).
I feel strongly that I am connected to some "Human Mother Trees", teachers, mentors, friends who have strong roots and a huge network and who pass on their knowledge generously and help me to grow in whichever way. Thank you.
If the whole year is going to be like the first two weeks this "famous" year of 2012 is going to be much of a roller coaster thing for me. What has happened so far?I had my bathroom painted a week before Christmas and also the small room in which I had kept all the clutter and the laundry for years. Having a shining bathroom and an additional room inspired me to do some more decluttering, cleaning and rearanging. The process took nearly all of the first week in January, my week off. There is still so much to do and only one week after my break I already feel tired on the weekend and do not get as much done as I expected to.
I had invited friends for a meal and cooked up some cross-cultural delicacies: steamed kale with Indian spices and sweet potatoes and fried plantain. Yummie! Still I did not feel all comfortable about the setting and I am wondering about the different pieces my life is made of and if they will ever fit together.
I had applied for a freelance job as a trainer for social workers in family counceling and received an invitation to a train the trainer weekend and the first training. For some reason I finally did not get into these but my collegue who had aplied after me (and only because I told her) got in. They told me they would put me in the next train the trainer course in April but it felt like a major defeat.
I had applied for a raise in my regular job but have been put off for next week and I am sure that this is not a good sign.
So there is a lot of stuff to process and it is not so easy to keep my calm. Still I am trying not to let myself be washed away by backlashes. I keep my eyes peeled for the positive and relax with some beautiful music , Tibetan Healing Sounds Meditation and Inner Qi Gong. Painting DEEP with Connie Hozvicka helped me to get my creative mojo back. So there is hope, hope, hope...
How did your year 2012 start off? I hope you had two sparkling weeks so far and may the sparkles multiply over the
How did you celebrate Samhain this year, dearheart?
I have been in cave time mood for some time now, but have been able to keep up with my walking and meditation practice lately. I never have been CRAVING for meditation time before. Now I do. Mediation seemed to be a task on my todo list, but now it is the time I am looking forward to. I am in Love with mediatting. I did not change much of how I meditate, so this cannot be the reason. I guess the reason is that I have been meditating without meaning to do so during my Orkney adventure. I found pleaesure in just sitting down and doing nothing. Not even expecting anything. Just to be there and to open up to whatever would come up, more silence, an activity alone or with the friend I was staying with. No plans.
This is what I miss in my busy Berlin life and I am happy that I can carve out half fo meditation an hour almost every day.
Though I did not plan anything special for Samhain this year I felt like drawing a card for the year to come ( as Samhain is the beginning of the witch´s year). As I like playing with my I-Phone I went looking for a Tarot app and there actually is a free Goddess Tarot app available. So I downloaded it and drew one card:
which is The Hermit in traditional decks and in this deck shows "Chang O the Chinese moon goddess., who symbolizes the the need for withdrawal from the world to better contemplate life´s eternal questions. Unlike Chang O , we do not need to spend our entire lifves seperated from the world to receive the benefits of contemplation. The appearance of this card suggests it is time to allow yourself this necessity, so often overlooked and neglected. At this time your needs are not so focused on relationships with others but on strengthening your relationship with yourself and the universe."
On one hand the card makes me happy as it seems to be a confrimation of the path I am on. On the other hand it makes me worry a little what it means concerning my multiple (online-)activities and connecting with you. Luckily the card says "we do not need to spend our entire lives seperated from the world." So there is hope I will come here from time to time and share what is going on on the outer and the inner planes. So what did you do on Samhain/Halloween and what are your plans for the new cycle? Share in the comments if you feel like it, I´d love to know.
What do you think would be the perfect souvenir to bring back from a four week retreat and travelling adventure?
I would never have guessed. I was not even aware that I brought them. They must have sneaked into my pocket and stayed out of sight at the customs- hehe.
Actually I discovered them only a few days ago. 1. Walking
Souvenir number one is the discovery that my feet are a fine means of transport. In Orkney during my hide-away retreat time between the sea and the lake I had to walk three miles to the shop and three miles back, including rolling hills. For some of you this is probably not such a magical thing but for someone who is spoiled by a (nearly) perfect system of public transport, this was a huge revelation. And I tried it again today. From my home to my office is the same distance, three miles one way. Usually I would take a bus, but I decided to try how far I could walk today. And I walked more than half of the way this morning and - taddah! (Shake Rainbow coloured Pompoms please!) the whole way back tonight.
Let´s hope I can kepp the good thing going. At least I know now it is possible. And guess what? When I reached home today I heard about Nate walking across America via Chris Guillebeau. What a story, so much devotion. Magical coincidence. My secret goal would be to circle Chomolungma (Mount Everest) though.
When I stayed with my friend Karin in Orkney I had a lot of in-between-time. I would not say I had to wait a lot. It was just that she had her everyday life and her work going so I had a lot of time to to myself, not always knowing exactly when there would be time to spend together, maybe in five minutes, maybe in five hours. So I just sat in that comfy chair next to the little oven with a squirrel embossed on its side. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I would just SIT there. The longer I stayed the more I enjoyed sitting. And looking back I think this state of JUST BEING was the thing I missed most when I came back to my bird´s nest in the treetops of Berlin. Just sitting. Taking time to sit and NOT to think about anything special. My whole being has been longing for this state since I came back and my brain seemd to refuse its usual quick business. It seemed to have sloooowed doooown a lot. Now that I noticed that I missed this BEING thing I started meditating again. And it came in handy that a week ago @starshine mentioned this absoloodly fanstatilicious app on twitter: Insight Timer. You can set the timer to start and end your meditation with the sound of different singing bowls you can choose from. (And the sound is really great!) And you can programme intervals. It counts the times you have mediated and gives you accurate stats And you can see who has been meditating with you across the globe. I am in love!
So I am back to sitting. I do 10 minutes of emptying myself and contemplating the void. Plus two times ten minutes reciting the Tara mantra. OM tare tu tare ture svaha. Tara, the Green Goddess of compassion. Compassion with myself and with others, but with myself first. It is good. My brain likes it, too.3. Loving
The best thing of my whole tretreat and adventure trip was probably the fact that I had enough space inside and outside to fall in love with so many things and beings. With landscapes, stones, seaweed, dogs, and gorgeous human beans. To name but a few. Twhen I came back I had a hard time getting the odd household scores done. I just could not get myself round to it. Until (like i mentioned in my second last post) Byron Katie helped me to see clear again. I had come back only to hate everything around me. Because it was here and not there. So I decided, I would treat at lest one single thing a day with love. When I carried a cup back to the kitchen I appreciated it. I washed it in the sink with attention and care. And it started to sparkle. It made my heart sing. And it made me want to love more things.
I am really thankful for todays blogpost by Danielle LaPorte who wrote about the difference between motivation and inspiration. You can clean because you made it a task on your to do list, because you are expectig visitors or because you believe it will help you be more creative. Or you can clean because it is aan opportunity to express love and to feel love.What is your selfcare practice today? Please feel free to share in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
(If you are not sure try "Loving", it will rock your day)
One of the great things about Orkney is that they have such a BIG treasure of stoneage monuments.
My favourite is not the Ring of Brodgar or Maes Howe, an ancient burial place, but Skara Brae:
Imagine a village built of the flagstone from the cliffs close by. The houses are not square but in the form of a circle. The roofs are a tipi-like construction of wood. They are interconnected by tunnels built of the same flagtstones and everything is covered with earth and what the archaeologists call midden: the waste of the stoneage:-and overgrown by grass.
If you subtract the iron fence at the entrance (and the fence around it, the paved path and the modern houses behind it) it might have been looking something like this:
The whole village must have been looking like a couple of green beehives.
How is it possible that we know how people from that long ago built their houses? The whole village was covered with sand and well preserved under it, until a big storm uncovered some of it in 1850 .
It was excavated by Gordon Childe in the late 1920´s and is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Islands.
The crowds filing through each day during summmer are enormous, but it is still easy to feel that it is a special place. They did not dig out a single weapon on the whole compound. Can you imagine? It must have been a peaceful time.
My mentor Cath Dunsford suggests in her novel "The Song of the Selkies" that it might have been a village of women, a place to live and study with the wise women of the tribe for some time.
We will never know if her vsision is correct in a historical sense, but looking at the shape of the houses from the bird´s perspective makes me think of a female body, just like the form of the ancient Maltese temles, places of the goddess.
It was not so easy to really take a shot from the bird´s perspective, but if you imagine you see her head pointing towards you, you might get the picture.
The houses were found all with their stone furniture intact. To the sides there were stone berths, in the middle is the fire place, there are some smaller square structures which are believed to have been used to keep water and live bait or shellfish. And there is the cupboard -or maybe the altar on the front wall. As all the houses are equally furnished except for one which is supposed to have been the working space (or a gathering place) it really reminds of a convent...so maybe Cath´s vision is not so far off...
My personal adventure on the day I revisited Skara Brae this summer comprises a missed bus and miles of walking, but that is another story.
yes I have been silent for quite some time. I am now back in Berlin for as long as I was traveling.
Somehow I had not accounted for the fact that settling back into my "ordinary" life might be difficult. I had planned to reap adventures to the left and the right of my path while travelling and to pour it out here for you, dearest, to drink it in and be inspired and elated.
But then coming back was like hitting a wall. I had changed, but Berlin, my work place and even my bird´s nest in the trees was still the same. And I did not know how to align thesedifferent leves and experiences of my life.
Being away from what I am used to I was able to be my best self. I was able to open my heart to all the miracles that the universe offered during my four-weeks-trip. I knew this had happened when I noticed that I fell in love with nearly everything I encountered:
I fell in love with the cutest puppy in the world, a black and white border collie, and I am so NOT a dog person.
I fell in love with the wide sky and the fats passing clouds and the wind.
I fell in love with the form of certain rocks, with the patterns of seaweeds, with the rich heritage of more than 5000 years ago proudly presented at the undug village of Skara Brae.
I fell in love with grey flagstone housees and the stone pavement in the small city of Stromness.
I fell in love with the cour green and all its different shades, I fell in love with the smell of the sea and the gas of the ferrie.
I totally fell in love with so many adorable people I met on these remote islands in the north, most of them 80 and older.
I knew it was all about how I was able to relax into what was given to me, not to expect things to work out but to open up to what was there. And I felt my heart open up like a flower.
I noticed my heart snapped shut on the railwaystation of Inverness already, when I suspected a woman would approach me to beg. She did not but I was back in defense mode.
Still I brought back enough of the beautiful energy to make my love wonder:)
Then the everyday hussle started again and I felt myself closing up more and more. I felt the contrast between life how it could be and how it was during those four weeks and how I have settled for safe here with my nine-to-five job and my big-city-life. And I blamed my job and the ugly city and everythings else I could think of of making me unhappy and unable to write my blog or do anything creative.
On Friday evening I went to a "spiritual cinema with a friend to watch a Byron Katie - The Work movie.
I had read Byron Katie´s books before, but had not thought about The Work since then. Now it made so much sense to me.
The Work is basically a techique of asking the question "Is it really true?" and to reverse whatever comes up and the aim is to see that it is always we ourselves who are responsible for the state of mind we are in and to change our thoughts if we do not like the feelings they carry. ( This is of course VERY short; more on www.thework.com)
Now I can see that a lot of my struglgle about coming back was me blaming my job and the city I live in for making me unhappy.
But it is me who puts me under pressure, who dwells in certain fears and who rather is unhappy then risking to speak out and tell my stroies. Sigh!
I am thinking about starting a self-lead The Work group hier in Berlin. It is so easy to forget...
Other then that I will be taking the DEEP course for FEARLESS painting by Connie Hozvicka from www.dirty-footprints-studio.com from nex week. to get my creative juices flowing again, so I am positive that i will have to share more about these new adventures and some of my Orkney adventures, too.
What do you do to overcome "creatively dry" periods?
Sending you rainbow sparkles.
As I tweeted the morning when I was leaving my birdsnest in the treetops of Berlin: "Watch out for rainbows over Europe while I am travelling" so it happened: I saw two rainbows on my journey up north, a spectacualr rainbow-circle below the plane around its shadow on the clouds ( maybe it is a common pheneomenon, but I had never seen anything like that before) and a second one while I was on the bus from Inverness to Scrabster. The rainbow in the picture below has been taken on the bus back from Scrabster to Inverness.
On the nighttrain "Caledonian Sleeper" from London to Inverness I had to share my two bed-cabin only with my little friend Pony Leonie.
When I finally arrived at the small island of Shapinsay - after two flights, a night on the train, two busrides and two ferry-crossings - I found out that I was to stay in one of the most awesome places, the little house between the Loch and the sea.
I did not know where exactly the lovely Ashwin was located when i had booked it. I came across www.ashwin.com when I just had sent out my wish to the universe that I wanted to go to Orkney again. The site between the Loch where the wild geese rest and the Sea is really magical . And it is really at the edge of the world. I found out that I would have to walk 3miles to the only shop on the island. But it was so much what I had had wished for and even better.
I have raved about the Goddessey spiral-adorned bathroom on twitter, here you can see it (coverage was too weak to send any pictures). Pony Leonie liked the spirals in the bathroom, too.
Additionally to the georgous bathroom I had two rooms and a kitchenette under the roof of the modernized croft. It was exacly the right space to read and write, paint and draw, think and dream. Between the walks on the beach with three of the most adorable dogs in the world that is ( I would never have thought I would call any dog adorable, but these were sooo special).
In this wonderful surroundings I spent my 14 days of retreat. (Will post more on my experience with being mostly on my own in silence in one of the follow-up posts to this one).
When I unpacked my suitcase I found a "Survival package" Super-Butch had given me because "A city girl in the wilderness will need some comforting". The package contained "The Blogging Queen"-book, an audio-book, Lion-King-Soundtrack, lots of sweets and the Mole. The Mole and Leonie teamed up at once and they did not have much time to spare for me from then on.
This is the first scoop of My Magical Orkney Journey Moments. Stay tuned for more.