Yesterday around noon my brother called me. My dad had a brain stroke (his 3rd one) yesterday night. He is in hospital and lost his speech.

My brother and me went to visit in the evening, he was strangely chipper, trying to crack jokes without words. Trying to cheer us up, I guess. But also sad and frustrated.

After, we visited my dad’s girlfriend. Strange because our relationship is somewhat undefined. After we announced it became time to leave, she confided the troubles of their relationship to us. That was weird and stayed on my mind almost more than my dad’s health.

Just now, I called her to say (paradoxically), I do not really want to hear about those troubles. Yet, I love her, as does dad, and want to see her well and their relationship blooming. That was weird, me trying to take care of her, when all I really feel is alienation and her anger towards my dad. For not taking care of himself – quit smoking, start exercising, and not allowing her to take care of him. Also, I really do not want to take this counselling role toward a parent, or any loved one for that matter, for it seems like ‘forsaking myself’, when I really want to take care of me. But then again, I exist in relating to others – but I must be present, claim my own space in that relation. That is what I keep forgetting, what I miss.

O well, another day, another try, another fail: heightening the chances of success, another day. Being sucked into a family vortex of unwanted patterns, trying to break free.

She was happy I called. Me too: I needed to do something to stop mulling about what she told us yesterday. I imagine I handed it back to her: I think this belongs to you.

Now, I long for a change of tune, something else. I must find business as usual type of thing. Think I’ll go for a walk, first.

Thank you for listening.


The power of selection, the power of choice, that is real.

I am not so sure about the power of words, thought, opinions. Words – when spoken or otherwise made public, yes. So it is not in thinking them, but in expressing them where power lies. Sharing. What we join in here.

But thinking, judging, forming opinions – I guess you, who visit here, concur with me on that. Which seems paradoxical – dismissing thinking, judging, forming opinions is an opinion. So there. Still, I believe  it is vacant, useless, not serving any purpose, to read without writing, think without speaking. This is my belief, which I am reluctant to change. Because I have held the opposite belief for so long, without much success for me personally.

On the other hand, I believe there’s not really anything in itself wrong with lying, cheating, manipulating – if done out of love, joy, curiosity, and with care not to harm the people involved. Care for relations, yes that should be a guideline in anything you do. I know I fail at this – when I growl to my husband, when I sit quiet, angry, grumpily. So I am imperfect – I try to forgive me. But am disappointed, still.

Mostly, I find it so hard in this world, to witness the moral highground so many around me have withdrawn to. Including the inlaws we spent the Christmas holidays with. Instead of communicating, serving, listening, talking, playing – we read. We watch the news. We watch entertainment. We form opinions and donate. We vote. It seems so empty, all of it. We do not partake – we do not act – we sit and think. Heads on sticks. When last did you dance? Play? Act silly? No time. Must read this pile. What for, really? Call your mom. She loves you, even though she may not remember how to express it purely. She does. Call your sister, your brother. Express an interest. Make them take time for you. You are worth it. They are. Refrain from judging. Emanate love.

It makes me scared. The book, too (the Nick Hornby one). Scared of being the same. Of being defined by this scary, bored life. So I write. To share. To act. To empty myself of these fears. To come to life.

Let 2009 be full of life! It started well – my friend gave birth on january 1st : )

Here’s to life!

“Some light reading for my brother – check”, is what Xander thought when he grabbed the Nick Hornby novel from the table at the Viennese Barnes and Nobles. “Slow temperature meat cooking”- sis in law likes innovative cooking, right? Check. Why his wife always complained about the difficulty of giftgiving, he marvelled. Nice price, too – and look, even comes with a thermometer!

Sis in law does not like to cook meat and brother dear does not read – except for climbing blogs. But aw, that’s nitpicking details, isn’t it?

I like my brother in law, too. That’s how I ended up reading “how to be good”. Nice reason to scold him at the breakfast table – whaddayamean, nice reading? A quick glance at Amazon.com will teach you even Hornby fans have a hard time finding goodies in this production. But hey, a name sells, right? And he was due his next title, his publisher had been pushing him for months now. What are you gonna do if you have to earn a living writing? Can’t all be pearls.

Up to page 82, it’s just depressed reading about this wife and mom, bored, fed up, empty, getting ready for divorce. Especially for a young wife and mom like myself.

Then a spark of hope flames: for the story and the future of mankind. A healer is presented with all the skepticism needed to be convincing – for someone who is but too eager to be convinced, like yours truly.

But the roughness of the main male character shines through in this supposedly subtle, enlightened person, too. How can a true healer, someone with love in their heart, wreck such havoc in this family? Leeching of them because of his lack of self. How misguided was Nick when he wrote that – mistaking love for forsaking of self.

It’s all downhill from there. The only way to be good – how stereotypical, and unimaginative – is to give to the poor, and help those in need. Can we possibly imagine anything less creative? Less subtle? Haven’t we been around that block and shamefully back, time and again, ever since the crusades? On that note – well done to Ben Sombogaart for Crusade in jeans which we saw on TV last saturday. But how to be good now, hasn’t that been done infinitely better by, say Catherine Ryan Hyde in Pay it Forward?

I can only imagine Hornby writing this under pressure of his publisher – been given a title and good luck to you. Deadline in two months. He must have been every bit as defiant of writing this as the teenager boy was to be in it. The only character arousing any amount of sympathy.

The novel ends sullenly in an unchanged the status quo, none the wiser, except the wife/mom who comes to the conclusion she needs some Me Time (ie reading time). The hope guru DJ GoodNews brought was shortlived.

So Nick: please try again? After showing us how not to be good, there’s ample opportunity for a retry… ; )

PS and could you cut the monologue interieur back to, say, a tenth of what you’ve done here, adding action and dialogue as replacements? This was such a slow read, I kept wanting to be done…


Posted on: 5 January 2009

confusionHappy New Year to all my dear readers!

I am so glad to be back here among you.

Confusion has ruled my mind for the past two weeks. Maybe its because I was away from the blogsphere. I could not write. I brought paper and pencil and sat down a time or two, dropped a note or two – but it did not feel like getting down (or up) to the level that fills me. The level that needs attention, straigthening out, emptying out, sorting. The level where I get back to me.

My husband, my son and me took a trip to the inlaws in Austria. We own a little house there in a village near Vienny, with his brother with wife and son. The house is old and filled with residual memories and stuff, the storage space any second house will become if lack of vision or courage applies. In this case, the energy of a family that bottles up their feelings, members rarely expressing their personal desireds and needs, but keeping up appearances and thinking of the others first.

We arrived sunday the 22nd. Dinner at S’parents’ villa next door, a nice cosy arrival.

On monday, we tried rearranging stuff, cleaning out some more – we started that last year, when S’s parents moved next door and turned the house over to us. But still. We had to do it without the help of brother and sister in law, who were arriving five days after us. And hadn’t anticipated the troubles in such an endeavour when darling little F of 13 months was crawling around our feet. In the afternoon, we visited oma.

Tuesdaymorning we dropped F off at his grandparents after his nap. Got done settling in. Visited tante Jutta in Wien in the afternoon and the Christkindlmarkt at the Karlsplatz with brother in law and fam.

Wednesdaymorning: swimming. At 16, Weihnachten at S’ uncle and aunt. The stiffness of this celebration caught me by the throat this year especially. Funny, when all the family members seem nice enough individually. There seems to emanate a moral righteousness from some, almost invisibly, that sours it up. I was struck by cousin C who glanced over to his dad, uncle C, admonishingly, during the final prayer of Our Father – uncle C forgot to put in a starting phrase or something. I always feel pretty silly during that prayer: I do not know the words and do not know how to hold myself. Of course the four of them went to midnight mass. Cousin C, in university now, is still active in the catholic Jungschar – a youth group from church.

Thursday – nothing planned. Don’t remember what we did. Arrival of brother in law and family to the house, settling in. Curious absence of discussion of our vorschlag, proposal, of how we rearranged the house.

I felt bereaved of my speaking faculties, because the lingua franca was, as a matter of course, german. I had the hardest time ever expressing myself. Tripping over pronouns, searching for my vocab. Seems to get harder every year – not until the second week did I feel more comfortable. I keep forgetting. It was hard last year, too.  

Also, for the huge pile of outfits we’d brought F, I only brought one jeans for myself. That got quite dirty on monday and tuesday.

Why am I writing all this? Because I feel so confused, and disappointed too, at the way our holidays went. I had looked forward to them. But it all went so different from what I expected – when I wasn’t even aware I had expected anything at all. I was cranky most of the time. When I felt so good before leaving. I had a hard time “umschalten” – shifting gears. I guess I felt homesick. And now, here I am in Amsterdam. We returned on friday and had a brilliant weekend. Visited with my family. Did some cosy stuff ourselves – and just enjoyed being at home, in our familiar surroundings.

Maybe I just started liking it so much here, that I hated being dragged away? Maybe I am getting to old for travel? Maybe it is my connection to F, who’s too young for travel as we experienced in Vancouver last September? It is so not working. I feel anxious about family holidays. I do not want to go.

And now, again, I have to shift gears. In my home office, build on my business future. Where did I leave things when I left? Is all I ever do ask questions? Will my vision, that seemed so clear in December, rematerialize all by itself? Or do I need to tug at it? Where to start? What to do? Was it any good, in the first place? Or should I stop worrying so much and just start, anywhere (probably)?

Guess part of my disappointment is how the freshness I have been feeling so clearly inside of me, growing, growing, that I am tending to here, is so invisible to the people we have spent, not just this Christmas, but all those Christmasses with. The last decade. How my perspective, that’s changing inside of me, budding, yearning to come out, is too fragile, covered in earth, to be perceived by them. I feel frustrated to not be that person – to not express it – to not choose according to it. I don’t feel I was in the right place. Maybe I was. Maybe I need more faith and patience. But all I felt was alienation, removal. Moral highground, judgements. Emptiness. Cold. Yet, constriction. Did I do that? I feel, no. I feel, old patterns and strongholds take us over – all of us. I have come to see people in different – unfavourable – light. Including myself – powerless. And aborted – from my fertile homeground. Guess I am growing roots here. Why can I not feel my values within me? Like those around me feel mine? Everyone is always happy to see me, to have me. Why do I depend so much on my surroundings? Why am I not stronger, more protective of my boundaries, empowering that in me which is strong, believing, faithful? Why do I doubt myself? I am hoping I will be more at ease there, next time. And more at ease here, today.

So, confusion. Disappointment.

But then again, it is winter. Flowers are supposed to hide in their buds. Maybe I should enjoy the confinement of the earth.

Plowing on,

munchscreamCleaning up my pencil-and-paper-notes archive, this note merits its own post:

angst/how to deal

1) recognize

2) allow it to enter, to be

3) a. park it, or

b. let it simmer

c. (I add now) show someone, in a small way, before it gains momentum on me

d. (idem) know that there are other options to act or not act, also.

Also, a list of bodily signs to help me identify fear:

– stomach ache, sore throat, tired eyes

– heavy, tired

– listless, without will

– heavy, powerless hands

– emotional numbness

– not being able to truly care what others think or feel

– pushing self forward without really wanting to

1. Embrace love in all its forms, everyday anew – recognize it is always there, in any and all forms it can take – in anger, fear, disappointment too. Not just the rosy, easy stuff. For self, for others. It is always there and it’s all there is. Trust, know, feel, believe that – even when it seems a lie. Try. 

2. Re-cognise and de-fuse (=refuse) old expectancies of templates, of what it should be – perceive every moment open and fresh. Have the guts to take my senses (eyes, ears and the other 4) out of the mind and into the world.

3. If I fail, like I know I will, strong as old patterns and expectancies are – take the courage that’s always been there, and always will be, to open my eyes and face the fear. Embrace it as a friend. Share this friend with other friends. Allow them to shine their light on it. Face the shame, allow it in.

4. (checking back to Love Is list for inspiration, really having said everything essential, but afraid to be incomplete) No, I’m done. Good. Short & sweet.


Money is… not important enough to justify its own Best of List! OK not true. Important but difficult (still) and not something to focus on, now. I prefer to leave it to trust as defined in my Work – iWish 1.0 list, for now. Not in denial! Just temporizing, prioritizing. Maybe later.

Some uppy stuff to finish off this post. This Dutch boy’s definitely going places… Big up!

After a definite new low yesterday, I am feeling better.

gardening-basketTook some time, and a hard talk with mom (you know the kind, getting sucked in a vortex where you both feel useless), a horrid day with poor little babyboy (I feel to blame, but then: it can’t always be roses! never promised you a rosegarden!), and some wonderful inspirations and encouragement from three blogheroes (Sue Ann Edwards, Nick Smith and Vannessa Leigh) – thank you all! Today: feeling hungover and hoping my sore throat is not gonna develop into a full featured flu –

But yes! Better! New ideas and inspirations, and most of all – renewed sense of hope, faith, trust and love – of self, too : ).

Trying to remain calm, grounded, and not go into hypermania/overdrive (gotta love your mania, though, like the master said) – slowly loading my guns filling my gardening basket, putting on those gloves…

I changed the desing back, too : ) – reflecting my spirit… love how easy that is in WordPress : D