“Enlightenment is not separate from washing dishes or growing lettuce. Learning to live each moment of our daily life deeply, in mindfulness and concentration, is the practice.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
In my last blog post, I shared my two cents on religions, beliefs, science and spirituality and why I would describe myself as a spiritual person; not following any religion. Some of you who are reading this blog regularly (thank YOU!) have already assumed this. I guess, it wasn’t very difficult …
And some of you asked me “now what is spirituality really?”
It sounds like a simple question. But it isn’t that simple to express in words what has to be experienced on various levels to really understand it. However, the question is useful and important at the same time; and it deserves a thoughtful answer.
When I began my spiritual work more than fifteen years ago, I had no idea what it was. I didn’t even realize that the course I signed up for, would be the beginning of my spiritual journey. To be precise, it was the beginning of understanding that I am a spiritual being with a human experience. But that’s what I only learned years later.
Let me share a few criteria based on my experiences, what spirituality means to me. What I share here is entirely based on my experience. So, feel free to chime in and to add your perspectives and your experiences.
Spirituality is a discovery journey to your soul, not a belief system
Spirituality is a journey to your soul. This journey often includes restoring lost or suppressed parts of your soul. Spirituality allows you to live from your head to your heart. This journey leads you to your life’s meaning and purpose, and it allows you to adjust your life in this direction, step by step. A spiritual journey should help you to live your life in more wholeness with the body, mind, and soul on the same page.
Every person’s spiritual journey is different even if most people seek answers to similar questions. And that’s because every person has different challenges and a different point of departure when they begin to do the work.
Spiritual journeys usually have many curves and iterations until you can reach the next level. And life will present you exactly the challenges you need to go through until you learn what you need to learn.
Spirituality is definitely not a belief system. Spirituality is not something you can read, learn and apply. There are no given rules to follow (as opposed to religion). Instead, you have to develop your set of values, principles and standards you want to live by.
Spirituality is based on connectedness, and that’s science you can experience
I have written on connectedness many times here on this blog, also here and here. For me, it’s the fundamental principle to understand. No, I should say, it’s the core principle to experience, to feel, and to process by the body, mind, and soul. Connectedness is exactly some of the things you cannot learn from a book. Of course, you can understand the facts, but not how connectedness feels, and not what it means to you and your life going forward. Connectedness is science; physics, to be precise.
In a nutshell, connectedness means that we as living beings are all connected: to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically (click here for more details and sources). That means: we are Earth. Earth is within us. And the same applies to the universe. Now that means that we don’t live “on” Earth. Earth is within us. Earth is not separate from us. This experience alone has the power to completely transform how you live your life going forward. Furthermore, it allows you to break through one of the biggest misconceptions of the (Western) mind: separateness and fragmentation.
Example: Once I heard a dairy cow crying and mourning because humans have taken her newborn calf away from her and put it in a veal crate just to ensure that humans can consume her breast milk (which her body only produced because of her calf), I couldn’t stop crying for hours. My compassion reached out to every single dairy cow and from that moment, I couldn’t consume any dairy “product” any longer. I have thrown away every remaining item in my fridge and went vegan (click here for the entire story). And that was by far one of the best decisions I ever made. Being vegan is my daily spiritual practice, ensuring that I don’t cause any animal suffering. Promoting the vegan movement is an additional spiritual practice for me, powered by Peaceful Soulfood, a blog that provides thoughts, facts and recipes how to treat your body as the temple of your soul.
Spiritual work is the key to personal growth; to be processed by body, mind, and soul
Spiritual work is mostly working with yourself. That doesn’t mean that the work is always done alone. Based on my experience, the compassionate, caring and energetic presence of a group of like-minded people (even if distributed all over the world), a tribe if you will, is an essential part of the journey, and one of the biggest and most precious gifts I ever experienced in my life. Working together is an enormous enrichment for your spiritual journey. And then, it’s absolutely beautiful, that there is an “ark” of people that will always hold and support you whatever it is you are currently going through – in love. That’s compassion in action; my “Ark” is where my soul is always at home. It’s my soul family.
Example: You may feel inclined to click on the first blog post back in October 2012. Read this blog post, and you will see that this website called Sand Hearts is the result of a spiritual group work that’s called „Sādhanās“. This experience in August 2012 was for me the trigger that opened a space for me to reconnect with my playfulness, my creativity, my passion for writing; outside of my profession. During this year, I could reintegrate parts of my soul that were lost during my childhood. My “gurus” in this exercise pushed me into this adventure which is today one of my most loved creative work: writing from my heart, here for Sand Hearts. Furthermore, this process helped me to figure out what my purpose in this life should be: the first idea of my role as a gatekeeper between assumed different worlds was born with this project, Sand Hearts, inspired by a „Sādhanās“.
Spirituality opens your heart to experience the strongest energy that’s out there in the infinite: Love
Many of us were raised to fit into a system of school, education, work, family, retirement, and death. Children had to learn how to “function.” What the soul wanted was often not addressed and not discussed. Instead, the focus was on tangible achievements, ignoring the needs of the soul. Often, the soul got lost along the way, due to emotional, physical or even sexual abuse. Children have learned early on to build a wall around their hearts, not to be hurt anymore.
Spiritual work allows you to recognize all these patterns and to get rid of them as they don’t serve you anymore. Step by step. This is so incredibly important because a closed heart cannot love and it cannot trust. A closed heart means not to live without the gifts we were born with. Furthermore, a closed heart cannot receive love, but it is actually crying for love. The only way is to break through these barriers, by taking down the walls around your heart, step by step. Many different ways are out there in many cultures, how to do that. Examples are, for instance, guided group work as mentioned above, shamanic journeying, soul retrievals, breath work sessions, firewalks or sweat lodges (if you ever had the chance to be part of a Native American sweat lodge, you are one of the most blessed persons on Earth; there is no ritual that connects you deeper with Mother Earth than a sweat lodge; just my experience in a nutshell). Each of these rituals has their specific energy, but every ritual will allow you to make the connection, to feel hold, to feel the strongest energy that’s out there in the universe: love. Unconditional love. Deep in your heart.
Once your heart has opened up and you have discovered the power of love that’s within your heart (yes, you were born this way!), you will also feel the universal, the divine (you name it) power within this energy. Love is the quality of the infinite. Love is the essence of the universe. This essence called love flows through you. Once you feel that love flows through you, you are on the best way to get rid of attachments you may have connected to the term “love” in your previous life. And so it goes: once you learn one thing, the next thing to learn is already waiting for you.
Spirituality requires trusting the process
I have described spirituality in the context of a journey. Now, what happens along such a journey? You follow a process. It’s not a process you may know from your business. It’s a process with lots of iterations, curves, and bends. You always follow your process, which is unique to you. And the most important thing here is: trust the process. Trusting the process is for many people from a Western culture the most challenging thing ever:
In this culture, people consider process steps and activities as directly connected to certain goals and outcomes and defined in the beginning. None of this is true for your spiritual journey. Because the universe doesn’t work this way. Because life doesn’t work this way (if we are honest with ourselves). And therefore, spirituality doesn’t work this way.
Trust the process. Yes, trust the process even if you don’t know what will happen after the next curve. That’s good. That’s perfect. Trust the process even if you have to go through similar challenges again and again. If so, then there is still something you have to learn. Believe me; I know what I’m talking about here… Seek for the lesson to learn, don’t develop anger and negativity because of the situation and the people that are involved, etc.). Invest all your energy in figuring out what it is you have to learn. Now, you are on your soul’s journey. Once your heart opens up, you develop trust at the same time. Only then, you can trust the process, this process, your spiritual journey. Things will change. Because you change.
Spirituality requires spiritual practice to grow
Whatever the practices are you follow, find your way. Every method that helps you to experience this connection, oneness, wholeness to the Earth, the infinite, to all living beings, is a good practice. Every practice that connects you to the love in your heart that enables you to act in a more compassionate way every single day counts as a spiritual practice. Whatever sets you in a state of awareness and mindfulness is a spiritual practice. That why I have chosen Tich Nhat Hanh’s quotation: washing dishes, or growing lettuce, if done in awareness, mindfulness, experiencing connectedness, you are on your way, on your spiritual way!
Example: For me, spiritual practices are, for instance, my yoga practice, caring for my cats and playing with them, meditating, writing, creating peaceful soul food and many more things, such as spending time with friends I feel a deep connection on a soul level.
That’s it for now. This is what I learned along my journey so far. If you ask me “what is spirituality?” next year, I will probably have additional thoughts and ideas because I may have learned new things along my journey. Because throughout your spiritual journey you are always confronted with new situations that may challenge you to the core – simply to help you to grow.
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
It’s this time of the year, a few days before Eastern when, for instance, Jehova’s Witnesses knock on doors to convince people from their religion and belief system. The other time when this happens quite often is before Christmas. Yesterday, when it happened again, I just said “thanks for asking, but there is nothing I want to discuss with you.” I’m wondering why they have no working customer relationship principles in place. They should know that I’m very consequent over years in not having any conversation with them.
What follows here is my personal perspective only. I do not call out a single religion. That’s not my purpose at all. And if one of the many religions in this world is beneficial to you in your life, that’s totally fine. But please respect that others may have another point of view. Tolerance and respect are what we need the most, especially as nowadays religions are again so mixed up with politics. Even worse, often “culture” is meant, but it’s called “religion.”
My early experiences with religions didn’t convince me
I remember when I was a child at age twelve or thirteen, alone at home when the doorbell rang. Then these guys stood in front of the door when I opened. At this time, I had no idea what “Jehova’s Witnesses” would even mean. I was told in school that there was a God in the sky who created everything and controlled everything. It didn’t make a lot of sense for me. It didn’t feel right. I had immediately the idea that whatever people called “God” is something we had to discover within ourselves, if at all. In school, I was told to be wrong and to learn my religion. It ended with bad grades, as you can imagine.
As a child, I debated the issue with these guys from “Jehova’s witnesses” for almost an hour at the door, letting them know my opinion. They made lots of efforts to convince me of the opposite. But the only things they could tell me were quotes from the bible. But it was nothing they could put into my context. Nothing tangible. So, I was still not convinced of their religion. The discussion ended when my Mother came home.
There is no single truth in the world, especially not if it’s built on beliefs only
Fast forward to today, I still have an issue with religions, because they are all built on an intangible authority that has different names in different religions, quoted from books that have different names in different religions, with questionable origins. And, of course, every religion provides their list of rules, what to do and what not to do, what’s good, what’s bad, what’s right and what’s wrong. If you follow these rules, you will be fine. If not, bad things will happen to you. Overall, lots of opinions and beliefs. But almost no facts. Of course, each religion claims to have the universal truth. And that means that all the others are wrong.
What none of these religions does, is to encourage people to think on their own and to question everything that comes their way. And that’s exactly what drives me crazy, this idea that one religion is right and from this perspective, another one is wrong. But we all know that none of them has neither the facts nor the truth. Regarding encouraging people to think systematically and critically, only Buddhism teaches people to question everything and to make their own experiences. And that makes Buddhism something else, but not a religion, as they provide more a framework that inspires thinking rather than a set of rules to be followed.
How should this polarity between good and bad, right and wrong help us to solve a single issue of the many urgent issues on this planet? And this polarity was and is so often driven by different religions fighting against each other.
This is simply not how this world works and not how people should interact with each other. Things are never only black and white, and today’s reality from climate change to personal relationships are far more complex on many levels. In my opinion, nobody has the truth because the world and the universe out there are way too complex that we humans could really understand it thoroughly.
What we have, are scientific facts (physics), and they are not built on religions, but on how this universe works. In parallel, have a look at various spiritual thinkers, and compare what they experience and how. Often, both domains discover similar things, but on a different level of consciousness. And that’ fascinating for me especially when you have your own experiences with meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices like feeding that cats or washing the dishes, that allow you to make a deeper connection with our world, and the universe we are a part of.
Let’s look how science and spirituality come to similar conclusions from different perspectives
The scientific part on how we are all connected to each other, to the Earth, and to the rest of the universe, is best explained by Neill de Grasse Tyson:
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
Now listen, for instance, to Thich Nhat Hanh, who explains connectedness differently: why you can see the cloud in the rain, which is built on science and not on a belief system.
“It’s like a cloud in the sky. When the cloud is no longer in the sky, it doesn’t mean the cloud has died. The cloud is continued in other forms like rain or snow or ice. So you can recognize your cloud in her new forms.”
So, as a writer, look at the transformation from the cloud that became rain that allowed the trees to grow which was necessary to create paper. You can clearly see the cloud in the paper, and also the sun because the tree also needed the sunshine to grow. Play with these thoughts to get a feeling how connected things actually are. For me, that’s highly fascinating.
Understanding that all living beings are connected to each other, how does paschal lamb or the goose or turkey for Christmas fit together? How can sacrificing animals for a religious habit ever be justified?
In my opinion, it cannot be “peaceful” to kill one being over there to celebrate “peace” over here. I follow a simple principle: All life matters, and there is no species that is more important than another one. Furthermore, as a human being, I have no need, no reason and, therefore, no right to kill another living being. That includes animals. And “taste” is not a reason, it’s just an excuse to change a habit. I will never understand how people can “enjoy” something that’s based on so much cruelty and suffering for others. Don’t leave the animals out of the equation. Furthermore, animal based “food” is a disaster for the environment (watch CowSpiracy), a Holocaust for the animals (watch Earthlings), and it’s only healthy for the pharmaceutical industry, but not for people’s health (watch Forks over Knives).
I haven’t seen a religion raising its voice for animal rights. Why?
Living what I discovered in my heart, unconditional love, how could I possibly follow any religion that still builds on sacrificing animals for religious reasons? Could it be, that this is merely pathetic or a common and unquestioned habit, because people have always done it this way?
Please wake up and question your habits and beliefs. What seemed to be right in the past, must not be the right thing today, as our consciousness level should have increased.
I made a simple decision for myself: Understanding the principle of connectedness and the need to increase compassion in this world led to the decision to stop animal cruelty on my plate, and in other parts of my life (it takes some time to replace shoes, bags, and other equipment).
Being vegan, considering my body as the temple of my soul, not supporting animal cruelty, is my daily spiritual practice.
The difference between religion and spirituality can be reduced to one principle: Religion separates, Spirituality unites.
Instead of providing rules and beliefs, spirituality encourages you to make your own path and create your own stories. This sets you on a journey of enlightenment and self-discovery to which the only limits can be set by yourself.
Discover your own path, and find your truth!
Do you know this feeling? Imagine you arrive at an airport, let’s say in London, Paris, Madrid, San Francisco, or New York. You leave the aircraft, and you walk to the baggage reclaim area. And then you ask yourself “where do I come from?” just to find the right carousel four your flight’s baggage delivery. This often happens to me, regardless whether I fly from my home airport Frankfurt to somewhere else, or when I arrive in Frankfurt, or when I have a multiple stop trip with various departures and destinations.
Sometimes, it doesn’t happen at all. And then, I have this feeling again. I’m standing in front of all the arrival information to find my flight’s baggage carousel number, and I ask myself “where do I come from?” The confusion only lasts for a few moments. Then I can, of course, answer the question where I came from on that day, and I go to the right carousel, take my luggage and walk away.
It feels strange because it’s only at airports. I never have this feeling when I wake up in a hotel room, wherever in the world. But something seems to keep me disconnected – just for a moment – from my point of departure when I’m flying until things fall into place again.
It’s also interesting that I always know where I’m going, what my destination is. I never ask myself “where did I arrive?” And there are some places, I just feel at home, when I arrive. These destinations make me very emotional when I arrive, it just feels right, it feels comfortable, it feels home. Soul homes I’d call these very few places I ever had this feeling.
Now, as you can imagine, I’m asking myself where this pattern comes from, what the root causes are for this symptom. And as so often in our lives, we only have to go straight back to our childhood.
Do you have a real “hometown”?
For some people, it’s very natural to say “YXZ is my hometown.” What they call their hometown, is a place they feel at home, they feel arrived, protected, happy and safe. Many people call the city they were born their hometown, and it feels right for them. Others call another place they decided to live their hometown.
I never had this feeling when it comes to the city I was born. I never called this city “my hometown.” I never felt “at home” there. I was just born there. No wonder that I always wanted to walk away; which is what I did later during my life. When I got back in this area for only a few years in my early thirties, I literally couldn’t breathe after a while. An unyielding signal to move on; which is what I did.
Whenever I go there today, visiting my Mother or a few old friends, I have still the same feeling that this isn’t my “hometown.” Nothing has changed regarding my soul’s perception at this place over decades.
I’m gifted with soul homes
On the other hand, I have a very few soul homes. One, for instance, is in Scotland where my soul felt at home the very first time I have ever been there. Whenever I arrive at this place, everything in me feels “at home.” The radiant energy at this place that connects to something deeper within me seems to be the trigger that makes this place my soul’s home. Maybe this place connects me to my soul’s previous lives. Who knows?
In my situation, my soul homes and the place where I was born into this life are different places.
It seems that especially when I’m traveling very fast (and that’s what flying is!), that my soul needs more time to adjust where I came from this time (from which home or from no home) to where I’m going to. It seems that my soul has more challenges to connect backwards than to log in to the destination.
An interesting feeling, once you discovered for yourself where the root causes may come from. In my experience, it’s always worth to look deeper, it’s always worth the time to better understand why we act and react as we do.
Observing and knowing something is the foundation, and deeply understanding the matter is a crucial prerequisite to growing. Only then, you can adjust your future behaviours. And that’s applied wisdom.
A few weeks ago, I was traveling to the US for business. In San Francisco, the immigration officer looked at my passport and me and said after the usual questions and answers about what I was doing here and, most important for him when I would leave the country again: “I heard you have a lot of refugees in your country. I’m so sorry. Somebody must have invited them.” He laughed and gave me my passport back.
I didn’t know what to say at that moment. So, I have taken my passport and went to the baggage claim area, feeling very uncomfortable. Was that supposed to be funny? It wasn’t. Was he really sorry about it? Probably not. What was it? Just to say something. Maybe.
What matters is that the so-called “refugee crisis” in Europe, especially in Germany, goes around the world in very different forms and shapes, far away from reality. It’s not the case that Germans celebrate incoming refugees every day with welcome parties.
One could ask the question why so many people, not only in the US, don’t make a connection between the ongoing wars in so many countries as, for instance, Afghanistan and Syria, and the citizens of these countries who become refugees and are on their way to Europe, to Germany. Because their countries have been destroyed. Just a thought.
I never wanted to write about this issue. Not here on Sand Hearts and nowhere else. Now, I feel that I have to speak up as a German. The experience at the airport in San Francisco was a trigger for me to do so. I want to add my perspective, which is, of course, somehow subjective. Those of you who know me also know that I’m often struggling with my country and my culture. However, it drives me crazy to see how and especially what is and (what isn’t) reported in other countries about what’s going on in Germany. It’s not that we celebrate day and night the newly arrived refugees. We have to deal with serious issues here. So, a few thoughts from my perspective:
Chancellor Angela Merkel is not guided by empathy
Empathy is not her strength, never has been. She is a scientist; she studied physics. And she is the daughter of a Protestant pastor, and she grew up in East Germany. She is a person with a high level of awareness and lots of sensitivity on what’s going on around her. She loves to have control. Based on her awareness and her preference to control, she leads her party, the government, and the country. She is power-oriented, but she is not the “macho politician” as her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. She is also detail-oriented, and she always learns lots of facts before she makes decisions.
Based on her scientific background, she is used to thinking in systems and to address issues holistically. That’s why she is relentlessly fighting for European solutions. She is deeply grounded in the European idea, and she is used to fighting for what she thinks is the right thing to do, even if it takes many negotiations and many different approaches to achieve compromises. Her staying power is what makes her unique. Some of her critics say that she never made hard and brave decisions before the refugee crisis. That’s not true. Remember her “no” to nuclear energy directly after Fukushima. She immediately realized that nuclear energy will never have any future again in Germany. So, she made a decision against lots of lobbyists and many members of her own party for what she considered to be right. Her decision regarding the refugees is similar; it follows her basic beliefs and what she calls her “humanitarian and legal duty”.
I do not agree with all the decisions she has ever made, but I do agree with her statement:
“To be honest with you, if we now should apologize for being friendly in a case of emergency – then, this is not my country.”
I didn’t write this paragraph to find excuses for her decisions that brought Germany in a politically difficult situation, even if I completely agree with the principle, that people that really need political asylum should be able to get it. But as always, the devil is in the details. I simply wanted to shed light on how she makes decisions. I will address another potential reason: the German demographics.
Demographic challenges: Germany is growing too old
Germany is short on qualified people to work here. Especially jobs such as craftsmen and other qualified roles in the manufacturing industry are difficult to staff. There are not enough qualified applicants. As Germany has over years one of the smallest reproduction rates, this problem is increasing, for the economy, for our social systems and especially for the state-driven retirement system. This retirement system is based on the idea that those who work pay for those who retire. Nice concept, but it has been built on an unrealistic assumption that the economy would always grow, and the reproduction rate would always remain the same. This is a structural challenge that cannot be cured with tactical manoeuvres. Changing the system is politically not possible in a country that is driven by “redistribution”. This problem could be cured with qualified (!) immigration. As especially people from Syria are much better qualified than people from other countries, this might be an additional reason for Angela Merkel’s decisions.
Religion and culture are mixed up, not only in the news
In the news going around the world, religions and cultural issues are mixed up all the time with terrible consequences. Not only in this matter, in general. Germany is not a deeply religious country, but it is grounded in its German, Christian and European culture. So, it’s not that deeply religious Christs fear the Islamization of the Occident (as Pegida and the AfD want to make people believe). It’s much simpler: people in Germany are afraid to lose their culture, their values, to be overruled by other cultures that have different values and beliefs. People are afraid to be overruled by an increase in all sorts of criminal attacks. This fear is systematically fed by the news that mix up religious and cultural issues and that mix-up crime and religion. People are afraid of the women rights they have fought for decades. And sexual attacks and other crimes that happened, for instance, in Cologne on New Year’s Eve feed people’s fears even more.
People are afraid of not being able to walk around without fear in their own country. That’s what’s going on. People who are living next to a refugee home, which is mostly filled with young men from another culture, have fear to have their little daughters playing outside. They don’t allow their children to walk to school alone or to play outside. I know from families who already decided to sell their homes and to go elsewhere. These are issues that are not addressed anywhere.
Angela Merkel is the daughter of a Protestant pastor. She does not understand that people who don’t know a single sentence from the Bible and never visit a church feel threatened by another religion. This is exactly where culture is named religion and the other way around, causing lots of problems and misunderstandings. Both terms should be used very carefully and always be defined precisely. Crimes have to be named, and the criminalists have to be brought to justice, no matter what nation, religion or culture. Not doing so contributes to right-wing political potential, that’s destabilizing the country from the inside.
The right of asylum
I’m proud of our Basic Law (please remember that we have more than 60 years after the second world-war a “Basic Law”, it’s not even called a “constitution”). Article 16a ensures political refugees to find a home in Germany (“Persons persecuted on political grounds shall have the right of asylum”). That’s compassion in paragraphs. That’s one of the few things I love in my country. This right for political asylum is grounded in Germany’s horrible history, the Nazi regime and the Holocaust. It’s good that we have it. I don’t want to miss it. And I can tell you that as a German whose family was heavily impacted by the Nazis.
When too much is too much
Imagine a traffic jam. If it’s not an accident that blocks the road, it’s simply that too many cars want to drive at the same time on the same piece of road. As the capacity of the road is limited, too many cars at the same time, cause a traffic jam. And this is what’s happening since months in Germany. Too many refugees at the same time. That causes chaos, something this country tries to avoid at all costs.
Refugees in Germany are processed based on the federal principle the country is based on. That means, each state, such as Bavaria, Hassia (where I live), or Lower-Saxony, etc. has their central gathering points for refugees. And these “Erstaufnahmeeinrichtungen” simply crashed. There was temporarily no way to get more people in. All of them had to become very creative to master the huge amount of people. Too many people. From these centers, people are moved to different cities and villages, based on a certain “distribution formula”. And that’s when the refugees suddenly come into one’s neighborhood. The cities and villages had to identify buildings where the refugees could live, and they had to get the processes managed. And this is where the problems as mentioned earlier come from.
It’s still a huge problem that so many people are in the country who are not even properly registered. As soon as they are in a certain city, they often disappear to their families and friends somewhere in the country. And nobody has an idea who they are and where they are and how many are actually here. This is a problem that’s based on the federal principle. Merkel should have advised all Prime Ministers to shift priorities. But knowing German constitutional law, this is much easier said than done.
Many stories on what’s going on cannot be found in German newspapers. Let me give you a few examples from websites, reports and pages I’m following, and from people I trust, illustrating what’s really going in here. As an example, the child of refugees died in a hospital in Munich after it was carried across Europe by its parents for months. The child was very sick, and it got the best medical care it could get. But it died. The refugee father attacked the physicians physically because he accused them of being responsible for his child’s death. Is this understandable? Maybe. Is it acceptable? No. Who will go after them and bring this violence to justice? Nobody. Is that OK? No.
Some refugees bring illnesses in this country that were not treated here for many years. At some point, refugees have to be brought to a hospital. I know from a case in which the male refugee refused to be treated by a female doctor because of his “religion”. Is that acceptable? No. Refugees get free healthcare, and they refuse it because of religious reasons? It’s, at least, questionable. In this country, our “Grundgesetz” (Basic Law) applies. Men and women are equal before the law. In my opinion, this must be accepted by everybody who is coming into this country. It’s a shame that our President had to point this out specifically.
Learning from taxi drivers is what I do all the time. My favorite taxi driver who makes all my airport trips told me recently that he had customers to pick up from the local hospital. The address they have given him was an address where refugees live. You may ask “how did they pay?” They paid with a taxi voucher; my taxi driver had to turn back to the city to get his money. Oh wow. That creates trouble in a country with lots of people who live below minimum wage on social welfare, who have no chance ever to use a taxi.
Imagine a Bavarian District Administrator (“Landrat”), who tried everything to “manage” the situation with the incredibly huge amount of refugees in his district, who simply couldn’t stand it anymore to hear lots of high-level statements from Berlin, but no concrete help and support at the front line. This person went to Berlin and processed his own, lonely rally in front of the parliament. Brave. Powerful. And it shows the mere desperation of somebody who desperately tried to do his best.
The political landscape changed a lot: right-wing parties become way too strong
This is a long-term trend that has its roots in the German unification more than 25 years ago. At this point, the political landscape shifted to the left, even the party of the chancellor made a turn to the left. And with “Die Linke” there was all of a sudden a socialist party in the parliament, with origins in East Germany. There was less and less space for right-conservative people. Years later, many of these people were afraid of the Euro and the European monetary policy and found a new home within the new party AfD, which was initially totally focused on fighting against the European financial regulations. The party presented itself as an alternative to the German liberal party FDP which supported the Euro politics with only a few critics (and the party is nowadays close to being meaningless). Many liberal people switched from the FDP to the new AfD. But very quickly, the AfD evolved into an organization that became a new home for many very right-winged people and even worse, also for those who can be called racists or – Nazis. People who left the AfD in the meantime can tell insights that prove that this evolvement is even worse than it looks from the outside.
How do you deal with radical movements and tendencies, regardless if they come from the right or the left-hand side? In my opinion, address the real issues people are concerned about and fight them with good decisions and even better solutions. But this is not happening. Many problems are still not properly solved, and the lack of European solidarity makes things even worse. The established German parties call all newbies “radical” and by doing so, they open a space for them to become really radical. A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Isn’t this a horribly dangerous situation?
Currently, it seems almost impossible to say anything negative about the refugee situation, without being pushed to the right-wing of the political landscape, or even labeled a “Nazi.”
Dealing with Germany’s Nazi crimes was very different in West and East Germany
In West Germany, people learned in school a lot about Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the second world-war. The history had been processed, not pushed away. People learned since decades to live with many different cultures together. Currently, we have 8.2 million foreign people who live in Germany (overall population is 81.2 million). But these 8.2 million live mostly in the western part of the country. And that’s part of the current problem.
The “DDR” did not really process the past. The German Nazi past and the Holocaust were pushed away, not discussed. The horrible crimes had not been processed across the society. In addition to that, people didn’t learn how to deal with foreign cultures beforehand. East Germany was for decades a very isolated country. Fast forward to today, most Eastern states have a very small percentage of foreign people living there, often between 1 and 3% only. Now, we are all one country since more than 25 years. But people’s perceptions are still very different.
This background is not an excuse at all. Not by any means. But it might help you to understand why right conservative people and racists that are active in organizations like Pegida or the new right-wing party AfD have found their power base in East Germany. It may also explain why people’s resistance is so big over there, even if the percentage of foreign people, in general, is very low in the East part of the country.
Regarding the recent crimes against refugees in Clausnitz: This is a shame, and not acceptable at all. Clausnitz is not my country.
Fighting against other people just because of their race, their religion or any other reasons is simply not acceptable. See Basic Law, Article 3: Equality before the Law.
Let me close my thoughts with those from Christian Nürnberger, a highly respected German journalist and publicist, who summed up Clausnitz perfectly:
“Many of the Turks, Africans and Arabs that are living here are much better integrated in our society than those Saxons who whoop it up in in Dresden, Clausnitz, and Bautzen. And the problem is: We cannot send this hate mob back in their country of origin. We have to live with this mob. But what we don’t have to do is this: sending the political party who has raised this mob and is continuing to do so, with ten percent or more in the German parliament. We have to call on the AfD to take a firm stand and to ensure that their frantic supporters behave accordingly. But it won’t be sufficient that the party distances itself from the crimes. That’s their method: their leadership personnel behaves as serious middle-class agents, while they set targeted signals at the same time – such as shooting on refugees – and are happy about fire-raisers, rowdies and whips. This has to change. The civilized German society must outlaw the AfD for driving hate.”
It’s a while ago that I have written about freedom, and how to free your mind from beliefs and values that are not yours but were projected to you, from parents, families, society, and culture. Today, let’s talk about the foundation of freedom (as I see it), and what the limits of freedom are.
The foundation of freedom is connectedness
My thoughts here are not based on any religion or non-religion, or any political view. My thoughts have a simple foundation. And this foundation is that we are all connected to each other, that we are part of Earth and Earth is in us. And the same is true on the level of the universe. Some people feel this deep connectedness in meditation, others simply get it be experiencing it in nature, or with animals, or being with a group of conscious people. Connectedness is neither spiritual nor religious. It’s science that can be learned (facts) and experienced as mentioned above. I’m not a scientist but fascinated by science. And I’m happy to learn from science to connect the dots to spirituality. It’s amazing how often both worlds come to the same conclusion. And connectedness is one of these areas. Let’s learn again from Neill de Grasse Tyson’s ability to explain connectedness with simple words:
“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”
Humans are not the most important species on Earth.
There are no species that are more important than others. In my humble opinion, this thinking that humans are more important than all others is one of the root causes that led to the belief that humans can “rule” the world while ignoring the principles how planet Earth functions. As there is no second planet around the corner, we have to care for the Earth and to live by her rules. And that can only work in a peaceful way if we understand that our personal freedom has limits.
Discussing freedom on the foundation of connectedness is a much broader concept than just focusing on human beings. Look around us: the tremendous amount of ecological devastation, pollution and violence against other beings and nature could easily lead to the conclusion that humans are actually the biggest virus on Earth, but far away from being the (ethically) “leading” species. What we see is clearly not based on a broad concept of connectedness. Instead, it’s more based on the idea, that humans would be more important than anything else on Earth. In my own, humble opinion, that’s exactly why humanity is where it is, why planet Earth is treated so badly. And as we are Earth (connectedness!), we harm ourselves the same way). Additionally, so many animals have to suffer their entire lives. The driving force behind this behaviour is what only humans seem to have: greed. Would any animal ever do things because they are driven by greed? No. And greed is most of the time justified by personal “freedom.” Well-known phrases are “I can do whatever I want” or “it’s my personal choice.” “What I eat is my own choice” is just another variation. What do all these statements have in common? They ignore the principle of connectedness. Completely. And they ignore even more: compassion.
Understanding connectedness is based on understanding compassion. And understanding compassion requires an educated heart. Only then, the real meaning of freedom and its limits can be determined.
For me, it’s no surprise that people think as they think; if they don’t educate their heart and their soul on their own. The educational systems in most western countries from preschool to university are based on teaching the mind with facts and figures, left-brained only. Children learn facts about the Earth, but not that they are Earth and not how to love Earth. Children learn what’s legal, but not what’s legitimate. Children’s hearts are not educated, and therefore, compassion is still way too rare. Schools where children’s hearts are educated in the same way, where kids learn how to garden, how to grow their food, and how to prepare it, far away from so-called “food” companies, are more than a rare exception.
Freedom is based on connectedness and has its limits – whenever another being is harmed without need, reason and right, you have reached the limit!
Let’s first look at humans to define a foundation. If your life is threatened by another person, there is a reason to defend your life. That’s covered in many constitutions as an exception. Because in general, it’s not allowed to kill someone else just because you have the ability to do so. This is an approach that’s widely accepted. And in most so-called “free” societies, it’s also not allowed to limit someone else’s freedom, by robbery, kidnapping or rape, just to name a few examples. I don’t want to get into a legal discussion. I want to get to an ethical discussion following the approach that freedom is based on connectedness. And these are examples where the legal and the ethical dimension are often the same.
Another area is much more confusing, and not based on connectedness, nor on compassion. And that’s when it comes to animals. What humans do with animals, just because they call a few of them “farmed animals” and others “pets” is, for me, a very special left-brained act of judgement. It’s actually a very cynical judgement without any compassion, based on the assumption that humans have the need, the reasons and the rights to do so. Humans made a classification that allowed them to treat the one category (farmed animals) in a horrible way while others have to satisfy people’s ambitions (horses) or are “pets.” Each term is cruel, because, from an ethical perspective, there are no farmed animals or circus animals, or pets, etc. There are only animals, and they are not born to be reduced to any of these human-made categories, that have only one purpose: to justify different legal views.
In reality, it simply means that you can abuse a pig or a cow or a sheep almost as horrible as you want it. It’s in most countries legal. Because it’s a farmed animal. But if you would do the same cruelty (examples are to cut tails, or to neuter animals without anesthesia, to beat and abuse animals, and to keep them in cages in which they cannot even turn around their entire lives, or to take away their babies after birth) to a dog or a cat, you could be imprisoned. Just because these animals belong to the category of “pets.”
While these animal abusing practices are legal in many countries for farmed animals, is it legitimate? Is it ethically correct to be able to harm a “farmed animal” while “petting” others? Look back at the concept of connectedness. You can answer the question for yourself. It is not. These living beings are all sentient living beings, they want to live, they want to avoid pain, and they do suffer. Their entire lives.
There is no reason, no need and no ethical right to mistreat any other living being
While there is a broad agreement on this principle when it comes to humans, it’s still very different when it comes to animals. Why is it ethically not correct, in my opinion? First of all, we don’t have a need. As nobody has the freedom to abuse a dog or a cat, nobody should be legally allowed to abuse other animals, or kill animals just for fun (e.g. trophy hunting). When it comes to “farmed animals”: we don’t need animal-based protein to survive. Instead, it’s damaging our health, and responsible for lots of so-called “civilization diseases”, as you can learn in Forks over Knives. If there is no need, why should there be a reason? If you can live a happy and healthy life without harming an animal, why wouldn’t you? Ah, I hear you: “I like meat”, and “I couldn’t give up on cheese”, and “it’s my personal choice.” As we already said here, when you harm another living being for no reason, we are at the limits of freedom. How can you justify killing an animal (or asking others to do so), if there is no need and no real reason? And if there is no need and no reason, where should a moral right to treat “farmed animals” so badly come from? For me, taste is not a justifiable reason and has nothing to do with freedom. If I leave other living beings out of the equation to justify “my” freedom, then I have clearly crossed the limits of freedom.
Don’t forget Planet Earth
Furthermore, there are lots of environmental dimensions to be considered when it comes to freedom. What you can always check for yourself, is your environmental footprint, and how to improve it. Then, there are broader aspects to be considered that depend directly on our decisions because we are all connected to each other and the Earth.
Following people’s appetite for meat (other examples are exploiting Earth for more and more oil versus focusing on renewable energy), we run directly in an environmental disaster. The impact of animal agriculture is by far the biggest trigger for climate change, but it is the elephant in the room, because of an unbelievably strong lobby. Or why do you think animal agriculture was not even on the agenda of the Paris Climate Summit last December?
If you don’t believe me, please educate yourself here or watch Cowspiracy directly: facts nobody can ignore. The consumption of land and water and the impact on greenhouse gases is simply not doable any longer. Feeding 70 billion farmed animals with food that could be consumed by humans directly, simply shows that this is the most inefficient way to feed people.
And here we are again. Freedom has to be based on connectedness, and that’s not a belief, it’s a scientific fact. We are all Earth, and Earth is in us. How can we possibly treat planet Earth as badly as we do? For me, it comes back to the lack of compassion and not knowing or ignoring the principles of connectedness.
I don’t claim to be right, nor do I claim to have all the answers. Instead, I’d love to have your thoughts on this topic. As I said earlier, these are my thoughts, and I have derived my thoughts from facts. Please feel free to chime in, to share your thoughts and to evolve the discussion about freedom. There are many more aspects to be discussed. This is just a starting point.
- Question your actions and decisions regarding connectedness and compassion
- Educate yourself about the impact of your actions and decisions on other living beings and on planet Earth
- Ask yourself what’s ethically correct, not what’s legally allowed.
- Let your heart make your next decisions, not your brain.
“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”
— Pema Chödrön
I have written a few times about forgiveness, here and here. The context of what I shared about forgiveness was the life and death of my Father and how to deal with painful situations as a vulnerable soul.
I have learned a few things along my journey on forgiveness: what worked for me and what didn’t. And why it depends on how to approach the forgiveness process and which intention to put into it. For me, it helped a lot to work with the end in mind (what did I learn and how could I grow personally). And that’s all about how I wanted to get out of this process. And that deepened my forgiveness practice.
Let’s have a look:
Put it on paper and write your forgiveness list
Forgiving incidents and situations that were very painful for your heart and soul that requires a holistic approach. In other words, forgiving is not an issue you can decide on with your brain only. It won’t work in the long run. Forgiving has to be processed by your heart and body. Then, your mind can do the rest of the work. For me, it all begins with writing down the things I want to forgive. It doesn’t matter if this is a list that covers your entire past life until today, or if this is a list that’s focused on a single incident, as you might practice forgiveness regularly. Write things down, all aspects you want to forgive, in full sentences. While you are writing, listen carefully to your heart to make sure that your mind doesn’t suppress things that are relevant to your heart. Your heart is where the pain is; this is where the need to forgiving comes from: from a wounded heart. Now, look at the list, and make sure that it’s complete for today. Be gentle with yourself and say thank you to yourself for this first step. It might already be a painful process to write these things down.
And then write your gratitude list
Not everything is bad. There are always positive aspects related to the person(s) and incidents you want to forgive. Again, listen to your heart and let the positive things flow on your next sheet of paper, your gratitude list. What is it you love about this person, what makes you smile, what makes your heart beating faster, what is it you are grateful for? If there are really more pain and negativity than positive aspects, focus on what you learned from this person, even though it was a painful lesson. Looking at the situations this way, you will find a positive aspect. For yourself and your future. After all, what we always should is learning from what’s happening to us. Because this is why things are happening. To help us to grow personally. Then, hold the forgiveness list in one hand, and the gratitude list in the other hand. How do you feel about the one and the other? Which has more weight, which one feels lighter?
Are you ready to burn the heavy list?
Burn one list and keep the other
Now, it’s time to manifest what you want to forgive. Light a candle, and position yourself in front of the candle. Have a bowl next to you to burn the forgiveness sheet. If you have a fireplace at home, even better. Then, use this one. Take a few deep breaths. Try to connect with the person, you want to forgive, try to build an energetic connection. It works, even if the person is no longer living. Simply focus your energy and call the person into the procedure. Look at your forgiveness list, read the sentences, and burn the forgiveness list. It depends on your preference if you want to speak it out loud, but it’s important that you process at the end these steps: “I forgive you” and “I claim my freedom back.” Most important at the end: “I wish you well.”
The procedure to burn the forgiveness list is so powerful because it manifests the things you let go in the physical world. It doesn’t mean that you should forget what has happened (why should you, as it has taught you lots of lessons). It doesn’t mean that you “approve” what has happened to you. Not at all. Forgiving simply says that what has happened has no longer power to control your future life from now on. This is why “claiming your freedom back” is such an important step in this procedure.
Put an intention into the process
That’s an aspect I have only learned a few weeks ago. It was the question “what’s next?” Is forgiveness just an isolated procedure for me to feel better, to remove the tremendous weight from my heart? Looking at forgiveness from a more holistic perspective, and from my own aspiration to grow personally with whatever happens to me, I learned that putting an intention in the whole process was the key to success for myself. It may come as a no surprise to you, but my ultimate goal is to achieve as much personal growth as possible, to lead myself towards personal mastery based on the assumption that we are all spiritual beings with a human body [please fill in whatever works for you…]. So, defining the intention should be focused on what you learned, how you could grow personally and on which level you what to connect or re-connect with the impacted person(s). Given the fact that what has happened, has happened to teach me something, my intention is to learn this lesson (finally) and to execute on it. For me, recent forgiveness needs had a lot do to with living my truth, and addressing issues that don’t work with my truth any longer. It was about pushing myself to the next level of connectedness and understanding of myself and others. And that’s like establishing the foundation for a new level of interaction. And that’s directly connected to the gratitude list: I’m grateful that I could learn this lesson.
That’s, of course, specific for each of you.
Forgiveness is not a one-way street, and don’t forget to forgive yourself
As I mentioned earlier, try to build a connection with the person(s) you want to forgive. And it’s equally important that the other involved persons can forgive themselves as well. It’s something that will circle back on an energetic level.
Often overlooked, but the key to your success that you can move on to your next level is the need to forgive yourself. You may struggle with yourself why and what has brought you in the situation that has hurt you in the first place. You may struggle with your vulnerability, or whatever it might be. Be gentle with yourself, accept the fact that you may have needed a few iterations to learn the lesson you had to learn. Make peace with who you are and allow yourself to move on. And we need the gratitude list again: add, that you are grateful for whatever you have learned from this situation and also from this forgiveness process.
And now, move on, and enjoy your life on a new level of consciousness. And you will see, this new energy will do the work and impact your environment.
Stay on your journey, and integrate the forgiveness process in your life’s routine. Whenever you need it, work with it, improve it, and feel free to adjust it to make it work for you. And don’t forget to gather your gratitude lists, and to enjoy what you are grateful for.
“No matter who you are, or what you do, the ground is always shaky. And the really good news is that shaky ground is really fertile ground for spiritual growth and awakening.”
“Sir” Max and “Prince Charming” Flix are the two boys that changed my life completely. Sir Max is a 13-year old, big red tiger tomcat, and Flix is a 16-year old black and white tomcat. Both met at the local animal shelter, and they shared a cat house. And that’s where they also met their future service personnel. Max made the decision. At some point, he has put himself on my bag. Ok, that was a pretty clear signal to do the paperwork with the animal shelter, and to take them home.
Now, it’s one year later. Adopting the boys was one of the best decisions in my life. If there was anything within my heart that had to be opened, the boys did. That’s for sure. I was always hesitating to have animals again (we have had dogs at home, and I worked with horses for many years), but then I caught up with work, I was living a consultant life, which means I was, at least, four days away, week by week, year by year. I didn’t want to force an animal into such a lonely life. Animals deserve a real home. So, the idea was postponed and postponed. Then, I changed my job and could enjoy working most of my time from home; I only had to travel for conferences and client meetings. Woohoo! A perfect prerequisite to have animals again.
Max and Flix took the lead
Max is a pretty bossy tom cat, he is the born territory manager, and he is a bit of a control freak, always monitoring the quality of the service personnel’s work. But it’s funny, he is doing that with so much love and care, that I’m already missing it when he sometimes forgets to do it. He is a very busy cat. And there are so many things he has to supervise. He has to make sure that the beds are made for him to reside on, that space in the closet is ready for him to relax, that the food places and that the cat toilets are cleaned. Whenever that’s done, he makes a quality check. And most important, his red rug has to be cleaned for him. That’s his headquarter place. From the red rug, he is managing the family!
Flix is just the opposite. Not only is he a much smaller cat (Max doubles his height and weight), he is also very shy, and, in the beginning, he was full of fear. He was running away, as soon as a human approached him. Apparently he had to process some bad experience with humans. Then, he didn’t eat in the beginning, and he lost weight, and he was already a thin cat. So, I bought whatever kind of cat food I could get to provide him everything he could probably like. And then, step by step, it became better, he has eaten a bit more every day, and he could slowly be transformed from dry food to wet food. And he fought for his own places and kept Max away from them. Good, he needed many places to hide. And he also respected that the red rug in the entrance area and the big cat tree were Max territory. So, he used the smaller cat tree and some other places, only he could reach. The boys have organized their territory quite nicely.
Caring for an animal with a chronical disease
And with Max came the challenge to deal with a chronical illness: chronical kidney disease CKD. I had to go through myriads of emotions until I figured out that the vet I have chosen in the beginning was not competent at all to deal with this disease. At a certain point when his kidney results became worse, I was told, “that’s all we can do for him.” I stopped everything I was doing, focused on all the research I could get about this disease, was angry with myself that I ever trusted this vet for a minute; then I relaxed again and leveraged the social networks to find people who were dealing with the same challenge. There is indeed a lot what can be done to allow these CKD cats a happy life, but it has to be regularly monitored, and the therapy plan has to be adjusted accordingly. And you need a vet who works with you, not against you. And even more important, you need a group of people who help you through the difficult times, and you need to make tough decisions. One of these decisions was Max’ teeth restoration. He had bad teeth; they were an ongoing source of inflammation that caused the kidneys additional trouble. So, the risk of such an operation had to be evaluated versus the advantages (less inflammation in the body, better for the kidneys). Luckily I have found an excellent animal hospital with lots of experiences, and a special procedure for operations with CKD cats. The day itself was horrible – for Max and me. I had to take Max very early to the animal hospital, without breakfast, of course. He debated the issue with me in the car until we reached the hospital. He never meowed. But here he did, 35 minutes. Then, he got infusions for the next few hours, and I said, I won’t leave him alone, I want to talk to the operating vet. So, I waited. After three hours, the vet came and sat down with me, to explain to me what she would do with him. She checked the blood results again, and I asked, “could I see him again?” She must have seen the tears in my eyes, and she brought him to me. And I will never forget this moment: Max was looking at me, with his eyes full of love, and full of questions “what’s going on, why is this shit here happening? I want to go home.” Oh no… I had brought him into this situation, and of course, he connected this experience with me. I hugged him, and I had to go. I was driving home with tears in my eyes, questioning the decision, but it was too late. As soon as I was at home, the phone rang, the hospital! The vet said the situation would be slightly different. His back teeth were fine, but three of his four fangs had to be removed because of cat caries. A more difficult operation, and she wasn’t sure if the anesthesia would be enough. I asked what her colleagues would suggest, and what she would recommend. Long story short, I decided to proceed, and hoped that the anesthesia would be enough for her to remove the infected teeth all at once. You don’t want to do this again with a CKD cat. Luckily, it worked pretty well. Inhale. Exhale.
I couldn’t do anything useful at home, not to mention working. I picked him up in the evening. I got a morphine for him, and antibiotics as a precaution. He got a fancy cone around his neck, and we were driving home. He was already in the mood to debate the whole situation with me. Again. He made pretty clear that he hated the whole day, and what I was thinking! This is when no valid reason helps.
Long story short: I have spent the next days with him, to care for him, to make his life as good as possible, given the pain in his mouth. A few days later, he was suddenly sitting on the red sofa in my office, and told me that I should continue to work, he wasn’t a baby anymore, and he would be OK. That’s what I needed: his approval! And he recovered pretty fast. He is doing much better, he is feeling much better, and his blood results became slightly better and are now very stable. What a process.
Animal communication to learn more about Flix’ past
Each cat showed certain patterns, as we all have our patterns to deal with. Especially because of Flix’ fears and his often sorrowful eyes, I tried to learn more about his past. So, I worked with an animal communicator, who could connect with him on an energetic level. This way, she could have a conversation with him, and that’s what she could share. So, Flix’ fear came from the fact that at a certain point, he could no longer return to his home. And he has loved his home. The door didn’t open for him anymore. He was offered a place in a garage, and all of a sudden, the humans surrounding him had no faces. The story with his human is not solved for him; maybe his human had an accident or died. This is where his deep sadness came from. It didn’t take a long time until he was a stray cat. And that’s how he got into the animal shelter. Given this highly vulnerable and sensitive tomcat, I can only imagine how much this situation must have damaged his beautiful soul. This is where the deep sadness came from. Good to know.
So I focused even more on spending time with him, on having him on my lap, and simply love him and hold him. We got better over time. In the second half of the year, after a lovely summer, both could enjoy on two balconies (so they could go with the sun), he relaxed more and more. And slowly, he became a brave and cheeky cat. His playful soul helped him as well to deal with his sadness. While playing he could forget his sadness, and now he knows how to use his service personnel to relax, to enjoy life, to be happy.
I cannot put in words, how beautiful it is to share my life with these lovely and wise souls. It’s a tremendous gift, a continuous source of joy and inspiration, and it’s a beautiful responsibility to have.
Rescued animals rescue their humans as much as the other way around. That’s so true. I also had deep downs this year. And whenever such a situation happened, I didn’t need to say anything. No, but Max sensed that immediately. Then, he has always curled up next to me, and he spent the whole night in my bed. In good times, when he feels that I’m fine, he spends the night on his cat tree and comes later or early in the morning. And Flix has another ritual. Whenever I make a cappuccino for me in the afternoon, he joins me on the sofa, jumps on my lap, and we make a ten-minute cuddle break. Then he goes back meditating, and I go back working.
These beautiful souls have inspired me in so many ways that I can hardly describe it with words. They taught me to live in the moment because “I want to be hugged now” doesn’t allow to be postponed. They taught me to play when it’s time for a play, and they taught me when I should make a break, and they taught me what priorities mean: having a cat on the lap; cuddling and loving the cat is always the first priority.
Who would argue with that?
I love these boys very much. And I will do whatever I can to make their life as happy as possible. They had enough misery to experience, and they deserve to be happy tomcats. They don’t need to worry any longer. They are in their forever home.