Let’s hope that everything will be “back to normal” very soon. We have learnt the true value of our social and cultural life. What remains is hope for a new beginning in our inner world but also in the world “outside”. In that manner: best wishes

Renate Weber

What is hope? Maybe hope is different at all times in your life depending on where you are standing. I have just experienced a bad stroke of fate. The first thing that occurred to me was that it just wasn’t real. It didn’t happen to me. That it must have been a mistake. But it hadn’t. Then I became angry: “Why me?!” I asked. And then there was a deep sadness, so deep that it seemed to be never ending. I couldn’t understand why the world was still turning, everything went on as usual. My fate didn’t count in the big ocean of life. Maybe that is so. When we look at the stars, we may become demure of our own small existence. This happened to me and that is when I actually felt “HOPE”. In the midst of all atrocity life can show, there is still a deep confidence in me that it will also change for the better. There are two things I am sure of:

  1. Life always goes on. 2. : We should not forget, that whatever is at the moment is not endlessly so but is changing. For whether we like it or not-change is the only thing that is constant in our lives.

These are the thoughts I wanted to share with you dear readers. And maybe they are also a bit of hope I can give in these challenging times.

Renate Weber

It all started with my dog Tom. He was afraid of kids, their unpredictable movements and their skates. He barked at them wherever he discovered them. He was not to be distracted; special treats or scolding him wouldn’t help. Until then I hadn’t quite realized that he didn’t dislike kids but was just afraid of their movements and their loud voices. Going for a walk had become a stressful task and trying to avoid kids never really worked. One day I took all my courage and rang at my neighbours’ door. They had two kids, Suzie and Pete, aged 7 and 5 years old. When I asked her if one of her kids would accompany me and Tom on our daily walks she said yes. I didn’t have a good feeling with this “experiment” so I trained Tom to wear a muzzle. It was one where you could still feed him and so I smeared liver sausage inside of it. Instead of trying to get rid of the thing, he tried to lick out its tasty contents. After a week I started to take Suzie on one of my walks. She liked dogs, but was also afraid of them, especially when they were not on a leash. Tom barked at her. This changed, when she I gave her Tom’s treats. He followed her then like a donkey follows a carrot. She would keep her distance to him and every time he took her orders to “sit and stay” she would throw a treat in his direction. We went to the national recreation area. Suddenly 3 Labradors appeared running around and circling Suzie for they smelled her treats. She started to cry while I tried to usher the three animals away which wasn’t quite easy. After this incident Suzie didn’t want to go back the same way in fear of meeting more “wild dogs” again. We tried a different way home, but it was as difficult to avoid dogs running around free as it had been to avoid kids. When I asked Suzie where it was she wanted to go now, she suggested we should go to the park. There dogs had to be on a leash. The park became our sanctuary in the coming weeks. Here we collected leaves, grass and dandelion for my two guinea-pigs. Suzie relaxed when we were chatting and looking for the best dandelions.  I admired her strength to still show up for our walks even though she was frightened by Tom’s sudden movements or by other dogs. It seemed to be a “courage training” for both of them. I could take off Tom’s muzzle but when I let him run free one time, he circled Suzie so we stopped letting him off the leash when she was with us. He craved her treats and in the mornings would whimper, when we passed her house and she wasn’t there. Then, one day, Pete wanted to see my guinea pigs and my dog. After our walk we went to Suzie’s house to fetch him. Suzie, who had already seen and stroked the guineas showed her brother how to hold them, sit down with them and feed them dandelion. I held Tom on his leash, so he couldn’t come too close nearby. I gave him treats for laying down and not trying to smell at the guinea pigs or the kids. Then, when we had put the guinea-pigs back into their cage, Pete sat on the floor opposite Tom. You could tell that he wasn’t afraid of the dog, just curious. I gave him a treat and to my astonishment he held out his hand to give it to Tom. -“It’s easy, just like you feed horses” he said proudly. –“Come on Suzie, you also stroke our neighbours` Jack Russel Terrier…”

But Suzie froze. She felt uneasy, shouted at the guinea pigs in their cage, took a children’s cartoon and hid with it in a corner. She was nearly crying and told me that she also wanted to stroke Tom, but couldn’t. I told her that it didn’t matter if she stroked him or not or if her brother was quicker in doing so. What mattered was that despite her fear she hadn’t given up to come on our walks. And that Tom and me liked her a lot and that he was whimpering in front of her house when she was at school. I told her, that sometimes in life there are things we take longer in doing them than others. And here comes my message for today: To have and show fear is not a lack of courage but quite the opposite. Everyone of us fears something. Most of us try to hide it and are ashamed of it. But this girl, she had had the strength to “walk on the path of fear” just to be with my dog, she was partly afraid of. In the end she thought that her brother would “steal her the show” by touching Tom first. And I bet, we are all a bit like her, comparing us to others all the time where no comparisons are needed. Everyone is unique in his way; we all have our strengths and weaknesses and the trick is to continue our way accepting these weaknesses and seeing our strengths. That’s the “real life story” I wanted to share with you, dear readers. And I wish you a Merry Chrismas and a happy and less demanding year 2021!

Renate Weber

When I travel to the Canary Islands I have the notion of reuniting two worlds inside me. The bliss of being alive and savouring the moment just as the islanders do and my manner to withdraw from the world ever so often come together. It reminds me of a medal with two different sides that are equally important and complete one another. Now- during Corona Crisis travelling has become more and more difficult. Plus it often includes being in quarantine and the risk of getting the virus. This makes me sad and at the same time I sense that this will still go on  for a while. But I know that –in my phantasy – I can also “travel” to the shore of the ocean. Brain scientists have found out that our brain doesn’t make a difference between “real travelling” and an imaginary journey. When I am on that kind of “journey” in my mind I picture myself paddling through the ocean on my surfboard taking the right way to drive me back to the shore. This is why I have drawn this picture: The two worlds – Spain and Germany – become one and also my personal reality. Of course I can’t “imitate” the encounters with the Spanish on my phantasy journeys. And maybe this is an important thing to notice: It shows how precious relationships and the interaction between humans is. It is not possible to “substitute” them completely by social media. These are my thoughts and my longing for travelling that I wanted to share with you in the sign of hope.

What is motivation? And why is it that I am enthusiastic doing things one day while I can barely get up from the couch the other day? This is what I am going to discuss here now. My service dog Kalle is playing a key role not only concerning this question but also as my teacher in life. And then there are times when he seems to literally pull me through the day. Very often after a while “in tow”  something wonderful happens: I begin to see the beauty of nature. And my furry assistant is there too, having the time of his life. Like in this picture which I just call “the enlightened one”. It is this picture that reminds me how wonderful life can also be and that I have the strengths to master its ups and downs. This “enlightenment” helps me to rise to action. I don’t wait for “motivation” to come to me, I just start doing things. Also this is a lot easier than to endure my own lack of energy. This “lack of energy” seems to lurk behind my sofa when I originally wanted to get going with my tasks. But then I end up on the sofa and in front of my mobile phone. It is my service dog Kalle who interrupts these “couch potato sessions”: With his liveliness, his playfulness and his stubbornness. And- most of all: With our daily walks in nature. Nevertheless there are sometimes when I sense that I need a rest. Then I try not to force myself into doing my tasks but to do the things I enjoy most. This is also something I learned from my furry teacher: Doing the things I enjoy most restores my energy. I have learned not to beat myself up for doing “nothing” on these days but to accept it. Also I know that the next day I will have more power to get things done. I am grateful that my dog has taught me that. Every day he shows me that –unexpectedly- there is light coming through the clouds. This light works like magic on my own little world. These are the thoughts I wanted to share with you dear readers.

Shit happens

Very often when I take my servicedog (in training)  Kalle  for a walk in the morning I am still grumpy. Usually that means that it is about 6 a.m. My “alarm clock” is a black furry labradoodle who nudges me to wake up. I can feel his breath in my face. If I pretend that I am still sleeping he will start yawning loudly. This then turns into an irritated barking.

While my furry companion is ever so ready to start a new day (however early!), I first need a cup of coffee to get my engine started. Carefully I add a few pieces of chocolate. I feel that Kalle is watching me from the kitchen door. The kitchen is the only space in my flat where he is not allowed in. He literally rolls his eyes to make me get going faster. I have barely downed my coffee when he is already running to the front door and coming back  as if to say “Are you ready now? Let’s go!” The first few meters he is actually pulling me in tow until he finds relief at a garden fence. While I am still longing for the warmth of my bed Kalle pulls me through beautiful nature. On a small path we get to a recreation area. Here everything looks beautiful and the birds are singing sweetly. The sun is rising and turns everything into a pink-red light. The light becomes brighter and even I bow in front of such a beautiful sight. We are far enough away from the road so that I can let Kalle free. Usually at this “turning point” I have the choice of keeping him on the leash or letting him go. If I keep him on the leash the result often is that he nudges me during my hours of homeoffice. If I set him free I can see how he enjoys running around and sniffing his way through nature. Yet there is one more risk apart from the crossing rabbits: Kalle loves foxshit. This is usually the worst outcome of our walk together. It only crosses my mind when I call Kalle and take him on the leash again. When I touch the ring on his dog harness there seems to be a little bit of dirt on it. When I try to rub it off with a tissue I am confronted with the sweet pungent smell of foxshit. I feel nauseated. Also, I get really angry! For I know how I am going to spend the next two hours: First I have to wash the reluctantly cooperative Kalle. After having won at least this battle I have to wash myself. And even if I get to dry Kalle in time, one shaking of his fur means that this day is the perfect day to clean the bathroom! The procedure ends with me collecting all soiled items and throwing them into the washing machine.

I curse. I curse myself that I have let Kalle running around free. I try to justify my decision in front of myself  by recalling how happily my dog had run through the fresh gras- nearly flying with his two black ears propelling in the air. And it is at this moment that I begin to understand that even with all his “stupid ideas” my little companion shows me how beautiful life can be. Having a dog does not only mean that I have more work to do. Also I feel more joy in life as if the joy of this little creature was contagious. I realise that my flat will never be as “sandfree” as before I got my dog. However, recalling how my life became “richer” by our walks in nature, the meeting and greeting of other people and yet all the exercise I understand that Kalle is worth every grain of sand that he constantly carries back into my flat. J

Dear Readers,

Please help Circus Barus! The situation is as follows:

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic the circus had to close down. In contrast to other self- employed people the circus doesn’t receive any money from the Federal State of Germany. When calling the respective authorities the answer was: “YOU HAVE TO SLAUGHTER” your animals or sell them to a zoo. Then, when you have a constant address you will receive money from the State (Hartz IV.) The circus has an address in Schlitz, which is in the middle of Germany. Authorities refuse to accept this address. Here is the link that shows the harshness of German authorities on the circus.

 (https://www.zdf.de/politik/laenderspiegel/laenderspiegel-vom-4-april-2020-100.html)

Dear Readers, in these hard times of crisis it is important to stand together and help in the neighborhood. If you happen to have a circus nearby ask how you can help them. Share this campaign or your own to help the animals and people in the circus.

If you have some Money to give tot he circus follow the link below to Crowd-Funding for Circus Barus or do your own Crowd-Funding Project. If we don’t react now, there will be no circusses left after the crisis fort hey all have the same problmes with the authorities. Here comes the link to Crowdfunding for Circus Barus:

gf.me/u/uxvg9ru

https://www.gf.me/u/uxvg9ru

I will be very grateful for your help-as will be the whole circus.

Thank you for your help!

Renate Weber

For me personally, prudence is the ability to differenciate between the things I have influence on and those I can’t change. The latter are for me my two miscarriages. By now I see them as part of (my) life. I know that up to a certain degree I can influence my pregnancy: By taking folic acid and refraining from alcohol or tobacco. And yet there is something else that is bigger than all I can do. Some may call it “fate”, “god” or “the universe”. Whatever it is for everybody personally –it starts exactly at the point where my influence and endeavour have no effect whatsoever. It has been very difficult for me to accept that behind that “invisible frontier” there is nothing more for me to do. In the weeks following my miscarriages this feeling expressed itself in a great anger that I turned against myself- just until thoughts of committing suicide. Now I know that there and then I tried to “regain my power” over the situation. A very doubtful power. My thoughts about committing suicide frightened me. That’s why I try to accept every day a bit more what is and what has happened instead of rebelling against fate. I don’t know if I can learn “humility” but at least I try to be humble about the things I can’t change in life. I allowed myself to mourn them and maybe that was also the process to become more humble than before. I feel more humble because I am not omnipotent and I had to realize that death is a part of my life that I simply can’t “shut out”. And every now and again there is hope and consolation as I have found it in my service dog. His joy for life and his curiosity about it apparently belong to the small wonders I have witnessed in my life. Also, they made me see it more positively.

These are the thoughts I wanted to share with you, dear readers.

Renate Weber

What is calmness? For me personally  it means to take a deep breath in challenging situations, to gain inner clarity. Also, it means that if I meet aggressive people I stop myself from “sending an instant reply”. It is a fact that impulsive reactions to accusations result from being hurt in our childhood. Also, it is evident that there are many people who try to “get rid” of their inner dissatisfaction by “attacking” others verbally. If I notice such a  “maneuver” I remain silent and observe what is happing inside me. By setting my boundaries in silence I leave the vicious circle of justification and disrespect. Sometimes I achieve this “calmness” and sometimes not. I try not to judge myself for “not succeeding” because I am still practising. However, if I do succeed it feels weird. Just as if I could have convinced the other that I am ok by words and explanations. Now I am conscious that it is even more important that I think of myself as “okay”. Like that I can- similar to self-defense in Tai Chi – put a distance between myself and the aggressor by using my inner power and keeping my energy level high. There is an anecdote from the House of Lords: A lord was insulted strongly by another member of Parliament. He however, remained calm and walked away with a smile on his face. Another representative asked him: -“Why didn’t you defend yourself?” –“It wasn’t necessary.” answered the lord.

This is what I wanted to share with you, dear readers.

Renate Weber

How do I “gain“ inner peace? I strongly believe that inner peace has to do with forgiveness-for myself and for others. It is important not to confuse “forgiving” with “forgetting”. It is not easy for me to admit it, but as far as forgiving my family is concerned I just couldn’t do it with my whole heart. I have tried to forgive my brother, but it was only a rational act. Very soon after having said to him, that I would forgive him the feelings of hurt and bitterness returned. Am I not generous enough? I now know that I wasn’t ready to forgive my brother and my family. I just wanted to “get it over with”. Obviously this is not how forgiveness works. Maybe –if you saw your life as a bottle of experiences- half of this bottle should be good experiences or at least neutral ones. Having a very low credit of good experiences made me envious of others and less generous to forgive those who have hurt me in the past. This may also be because I expect too much of others and myself. I am sorry that this attitude makes it harder for me to be at peace with myself and with others. As I can’t change that at the moment there is however another way to become “more peaceful”: This is to make my peace with all the things that I could have done differently in the past. A wise man once said that we shouldn’t label the things we feel we didn’t do well as mistakes, but simply as experiences on our way here on earth. And even though we are raised to believe that we should avoid mistakes at all cost, learning wouldn’t take place without them. When I look inside of me I realize that I keep beating myself up about all the things I seem to have done poorly in my life. I am sure that everybody wants to live his/her life as best as s/he can. I believe nobody, absolutely nobody, wants to fail his/her life on purpose. And this is where self-forgiveness comes in: What if we did it as best as we could at that specific moment in the past? This is not an excuse to repeat bad behaviour, but maybe the thought that we couldn’t have done it better in the first run gives us the strength to improve our behaviour and-finally be at  peace with ourselves.

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