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.

I have barely had any patience in my life. HIGHER, QUICKER, FURTHER- these were the goals that I have had for years. Even though I knew that this “life under constant inner pressure” wasn’t good for my health, I simply did not know how to do things more slowly. It was as if I there was a tiny man sitting on my shoulder who kept shouting: “Off you go, you don’t have time, be quick!” or if I had just fulfilled a task: “Hey, don’t relax, there is so much more to do.” Until now this phenomenon gave me the feeling that I couldn’t rest until I had fulfilled all daily chores and written down the new tasks that came to my mind.” This way I never really took my time to enjoy what I had already accomplished. I took this energy to do yet more projects. As there were nearly no pauses in between my “task-accomplishing” days I had the feeling, that tasks were never ending and that against all odds I wasn’t getting anywhere. This however, made me yet become more impatient with myself and with life in general. Until one day-the day when I met Marie-I began to question my attitude. It was a grey and misty November morning when I came to visit my father in the home for elderly people. By my side was Kalle, my service dog. The atmosphere in the home was kind of numb and it felt somehow empty, because there was neither talking nor laughter to be heard from the old people. I was glad when Kalle somewhat changed this stillness, because some grandmas and grandpas talked about him and how he reminded them of dogs they had had in their earlier years. Some wanted to stroke him others just stood there watching him in surprise. This gave me an idea of how secluded these elderly people lived. Still I was impatiently waiting for the lift, to get on with my visit and my tasks. When the doors of the lift opened there was a tiny woman with long white hair. She looked at me and said: “You are a beautiful woman.” I smiled. When another man, obviously a visitor, entered she said: “You are a beautiful man.” I realised that she used this compliment kind of like greeting someone, to get into contact. I asked her what she had in her trolley. “This is a picture of my husband”. I looked at the black-and-white fotograph of a man in his thirties. On the trolley there was a sticker with name and address of the elderly woman. I read that her first name was Marie (name changed). Next to the foto in her trolley there was an album full of fotographs. It looked like it was nearly 100 years old and its pages were torn from the constant use of memories. Other than that there was a mirror and a brush. I looked at Marie who was talking to the visitor about the many years he came here to see his wife. Looking at the trolley it suddenly struck me that in a few years time I could be like Marie. I understood at this moment that there was no real frontier that would save me from getting old and forgetting each day more of who I was and where I was. Even though I chose to believe that I could “enjoy life later” I began to comprehend how fragile life was. And suddenly my inner pressure together with the tiny man on my shoulder grew silent. When I got off the lift I saw Marie walking slowly along the long corridor, carrying her life in the small trolley she kept pushing in front of her. Knocking at my father’s door I felt that Kalle wanted to get away. For him as for me the visits here took a lot of energy. My father was enthusiastic to see me. It was painful for me to see how many of the things he used to do he didn’t know how to do them any more. I tried to talk about the past-the only time he seemed comfortable talking about. We even went for his first walk together which made the atmosphere of the home less misty. My father wanted to go home. He “invited” me for a drink in the nearby pub. When we crossed a big street he speeded up his pace and started shouting at a lorry who wanted to go on driving. At the tavern the owner had already a put a glass of wine on the counter. My father on the other hand didn’t know if 5 Euro were enough for the wine and my coffee. The pub was a sad place to be: There was no real “food” to eat, not even a roll to buy. People just seemed to come in to drink, smoke and feel less lonely. My dog sensed that something was not quite right. He looked at me quizzically and I was relieved when we could finally leave. “I will come back later”, he shouted at the owner who nodded stoically. A part of me wanted to shout: “Dad why do you destroy your life?” but I kept silent. I remembered the better times where my father and I had taken walks in the woods and finally eaten in a restaurant nearby. Those times I understood were ultimately gone. Since that day I try to accept that I can’t change my father’s consume of alcohol. What I can change is to enjoy life when it is peaceful and to be more patient.

Renate Weber

Dear Readers,

My new autobiographic novel “Renate II -companions” is now available. At this moment it is only available in German. This new book is on my second and third stay in the psychosomatic clinic and the insights I gained there to be more resilient and in balance in my every day life.

Here comes the preview of my second book: “Renate II -the companions”

to encounter the horrors of the past with courage: With my healing fairy tales

by Renate weber

5 years ago I was diagnosed with Burnout and sent to a psychosomatic clinic: Here it became clear that it had not only been the overload that had caused my break-down, but various Traumata. Until then I had written down my family’s history and my own childhood. Thereby the sexual abuse I had endured as a little girl “came to the surface”. Since I had started to write About my childhood I was constantly haunted by nightmares. My therapists then advised me to write a healing fairy tale.

I have drawn my inner children in this picture. They are the inner parts that have been hurt by the sexual abuse. Since then they have remained in a state of shock. Now they made the experience to be saved. Thereby they could be integrated into my personality.

This was the “birth” of Fulna, the Dragon for my protection and Kai. Kai used to be a shadowy part. This part used to create a recurring nightmare for me:

Octopus with “penis-tongue” abuses 9-year-old Nati

Nati= my younger self

While my inner parts were transforming I suddenly could give “a face” to the rage I had turned against myself for a very long time. The “anger-devil” was born and he helped me to understand that underneath my anger there lay a deep sadness that nobody had helped me emotionally after I had told my family about the sexual abuse.