Under the Rainbow

Terra Vecchia (photo credit: David Marmet)

Liebe Freunde,

schon bald werde ich auf Reisen gehen. Nein, nicht in den Urlaub – vielmehr auf eine innere Reise. Ich werde mich für einige Zeit in eine Einsiedelei zurück ziehen, und zwar genau unter dem Regenbogen im obigen Bild.
Der Regenbogen als Symbol der Verbundenheit: “Ein Hauch positiver Energie der zwei unterschiedliche Orte mit einem nicht greifbaren Band zusammenhält.” Wir leben in einer stark säkularisierten Welt, aber auch in einer spirituellen; und dies braucht immer wieder einen Hauch positiver Energie um diese beiden unterschiedlichen Orte im Alltag zusammen zu halten.

Aus der Stille, auch der Stille des abgelegenen Ortes, werde ich hoffentlich Kraft schöpfen können um das Profane und das Sakrale zusammen kommen zu lassen. Denn dadurch werden ausserordentliche Kräfte frei gesetzt um meinen Auftrag im Leben zu erkennen, diesen um zu setzen, und um in dieser Welt positiv wirken zu können – etwas das in religiösen Worten vielleicht als Zeugnis für die Gnade Gottes im Leben eines Menschen umschrieben wird.

Ich werde mich zurück ziehen, aber nicht komplett der Welt verschliessen. An jedem Werktag vom September bis November werde ich zwischen 10 und 12 Uhr mein Telefon in Betrieb nehmen, Mails abrufen, und Besucher empfangen.

Dear Friends,

soon I will start travelling. No, I will not go on vacation – it will be rather an inner journey. I will retreat for some time to an hermitage, which is located somewhere under the rainbow in the above picture.

The rainbow is a symbol for connectedness: “A breeze of positive energy that connects two different places with an intangible ribbon”. We live in a strongly secularized world, as well as in a spiritual one; this always requires a breeze of positive energy in order to keep together the two divergent places in our everyday lives.

From the silence, also the stillness of the remote place, I hope to gather the strength to connect the profane and the sacred. Thus from there, extraordinary power will be released to recognize my call, to realize it, and to contribute in a positive way to this world – something that could be described in religious terms as testimony to the grace of God in the life a human being.

I will retreat, however I will not disconnect myself from the world. On every workday from September until November, I will turn on my phone, check the email, and receive visitors between 10 and 12 o’clock.

2012 in pictures

Here is my 2012 in pictures! For thoughts to go with each picture in the slideshow, keep reading: Continue reading “2012 in pictures”

Life-long learning – a professional and a monastic path

The last few workdays, I had a chance to be with people in a professional manner again. Yes, it is in many ways a different way of being, no matter what the personal intention behind it is. There is often a very clear mandate, a professional framework, and whole lot of professional culture that determines in various ways the interactions and relationships in such a setting. I have considerable experience in the field of nursing, which operates within the health care system. This most recent experience was in the field of education. I found many commonalities in how we as professionals relate to those in our care.

The most limiting factor I find is the schedule – the work hours. Although the job mandates to relate to people, work hours are a very foreign framework: They are governed by transactional considerations in collective agreements, agency funding, institutional culture, and individual rights and responsibilities. I find this internally inconsistent with the mandate of being with – of relating to people with multiple needs. How often are we forcing our professional expertise (“we know what to do, what is best for you”), our learning goals and plans, our labour benefits (such as break times) onto the individual lives of those who we care for during work hours? It is not possible to catch that learning window when it is open, we have to pry it open: It is time to do crafts, music therapy, spell and sign… because our schedule demands it at this point.

Many times I have been frustrated by these constraints. But I have also witnessed, that it is so much easier, successful, and satisfying to be with people and weave the learning goals and activities into daily living (instead of simulating a formal lesson): Why not sing and engage in musical activity when the person we are caring for is open to engage, even if it is while out on a walk? The squirrels and ravens don’t mind if I sing and if we clap the rhythm to the song together.

A creative result of applied math and social studies: Grittibänz baking for Dec. 6 celebration (Nicholas of Myra feast day)

I remember the days when we home schooled our children. We never did any formal math classes for three years: our children learned their additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions by working with and adjusting recipes to bake muffins or cup cakes. Continue reading “Life-long learning – a professional and a monastic path”

Feast Day: Othmar

für eine deutsche Version: Namenstag: Othmar

Today I am going to tell you a story of a gifted little boy born on the shores of Lake Constance. He grew up in a place where he would speak an Alamannic German at home and Latin in more formal settings. He was born into a privileged family: He got the chance to go to school at an early age. The intent was to groom him for service in the royal administration. For his postsecondary education he is being sent abroad where people speak Romansch. There he lives in a palace with the family of a powerful mentor. After he mastered the sciences, he continued to study theology and became a priest.

The young man wanted to return to the shores of Lake Constance, but his mentor had a strategic placement for him in mind. He served for a number of years as parish priest and gained a reputation for compassionate service and his special attention for the marginalized. Eventually, he got called by an even more powerful landlord to establish a monastery in the woods of the Steinach valley. The local ruler secured a royal order to do so, and thus to establish a cultural and religious defence post on the margins of competing jurisdictions.

Abbot Otmar (photo source: http://www.santiebeati.it)

Continue reading “Feast Day: Othmar”