10 complex ways to lead a simple(r) life

Haus in Camana, Safiental. - House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.
Haus in Camana, Safiental. – House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.

In a postmodern trend to list anything for publication, I am adding ten attitudes and behaviours that could (hopefully) be endorsed by John Woolman to avoid superfluities. Continue reading “10 complex ways to lead a simple(r) life”

10 komplexe Weisen ein einfach(er)es Leben zu führen

Haus in Camana, Safiental. - House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.
Haus in Camana, Safiental. – House in Camana, located in the Nature Park Beverin, Switzerland.

Ganz im Sinne der postmodernen Erscheinung, alles Mögliche in Listenform zu publizieren, führe ich hier zehn Lebenseinstellungen und Verhaltensweisen an, die hoffentlich auch John Woolman vertreten könnte um Überflüssiges zu vermeiden. Continue reading “10 komplexe Weisen ein einfach(er)es Leben zu führen”

Obedience – Gehorsam

Die deutsche Übersetzung folgt weiter unten.

Obedience is very often understood in relation to the fact that one gives orders and others obey. Obedience is of great importance in hierarchical systems, such as the army, where obedience is imperative and non-obedience leads to punishment. The same is true in the church, where obedience is a special virtue and leads to salvation. Non-obedience is a guide to hell in various church organizations and denominations. But even the seemingly value-free market economy demands absolute obedience. According to proponents of a neo-liberal economic paradigm, influencing the invisible market forces will only lead to misfortune: therefore are government regulations, and other considerations and interventions for the common good responsible for all the ills of today’s consumer society. Continue reading “Obedience – Gehorsam”

Daily Random Act of Kindness #1

Among all the waiting people in the lounge of the Naperville railway station, there was a curious pairing of people interacting across those ancient looking benches: Two brown skinned girls with black hair of early school age, and a white, grey-haired lady. The lady was sitting properly, her carry-on luggage neatly in front of her, reading from one of these privileged electronic gadgets. Leaning over her shoulders from the other side of the wooden bench, the two girls with a pinkish-enclosed phone gadget.

Naperville Station - on my way to the other side
Naperville Station – on my way to the other side

“Do you remember those numbers?” – Continue reading “Daily Random Act of Kindness #1”

The calendar says, let’s start again (+de)

Let us figure out how it works to play peacefully
Let us figure out how it works to play peacefully

In the universe’s infinite wisdom, we have so many chances to start anew. During the past week, I had the opportunity to get down to the floor, to pick up the little toys and enjoy the excitement of learning processes together with the toddlers. What is simple about the complexity of a four-wheeled cart, a wooden tower of tracks with holes, gravity, friction, direction, and interfering hands of a cousin? These are all learning opportunities for interaction, relational practice, personal development, and exploring the world around us. Continue reading “The calendar says, let’s start again (+de)”

Banking and integrity – the good side of money

For the third time in my life, I have become co-owner of a bank. This seems like a contradiction for a person who embraces voluntary poverty, strives for a simple life, aspires to the ideal of non-possession. Well, I call it a necessity on the way.

The meaning this step has for me is the reason why I feel led to share this unspectacular event in a person’s life with you. I am very critical of the consumerist-capitalist paradigm and dominant economic system. I am deeply suspicious about the integrity of the banking system. These banking institutions embody much of what I see is missing the mark in the global discourse of affluence.

Intriguing pattern of light - Art installation by Niki Saint Phalle in the historic grotto at the Royal Herrenhäuser Gardens in Hannover, Germany
Intriguing pattern of light – Art installation by Niki Saint Phalle in the historic grotto at the Royal Herrenhäuser Gardens in Hannover, Germany

Continue reading “Banking and integrity – the good side of money”

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”