Action, reflection, and being human

September 24, 2010

My friend Jacqueline had a nice Blog post this week in her Blog “Six month to live” which is dedicated to the question  of what would you do if there only would be six more month in your life?

                                                                                                             6monthtolive

It is a simple question but there is no simple answer. Should we drop everything and just do what we always wanted to do or is it about to come to terms with the human condition in daily life?

In regards to her latest Blog post I agree with Jacqueline wholeheartedly that we are all an intricate part of the big picture and that the complex mechanism of the whole Universe influences us all, but we still go by our gut feeling or make our decisions from the heart at the time when it feels right.

 My conclusion to all of this is simple: it is not easy to be human! The human condition is one of the most difficult topics to discuss, explore and to understand. There are thousands of books and millions of different interpretations offered with the conclusion that every person is differently wired and structured. I lost my job in September of 2009 and I am happily looking back of one successful year in opening my heart to many colorful birds and their humans and my house to people in need, hit harder then myself, by the economy and the negative down spiral of things. I hope I can keep it up and I hope I will be supported by the stars, the moon and most importantly by the sun to finish what I have begun. I am grateful that I was able to work on my own project integrating positive qualities and a different pace, exactly the way I had described in the Epilogue of “To Drink the Wild Air” I wrote in January of this year. First, I had to go forward to find the past again but now I have caught up to the present with lightning speed and can work on the future with all my combined qualities.  

My phrase is to live every day as if it would be my last, with the necessary compassion and humility, although people sometimes don’t even respond to compassion or kindness anymore due to fear, embarrassment, or cowardice. Nevertheless, every single day adds to the sum of six month and afterwards we will re-live these six month many more times in our life times, adding more quality and finally might be able to come to terms with our load to be human.


¡México lindo y querido!

September 17, 2010

I am not sure if it is global warming, general climate change or just shitty weather all year long but we just phased from spring straight into winter again here in the Bay Area. It is grey and foggy, it drizzles, it is cold,dark, wet and uncomfortable. 

There is only one thing I can do,other than being depressed about not having any sunlight and that is to think about the places I had lived and visited where bright sunshine and beautiful colors ruled the planet…. Ahhh – I truly miss it.

Here is an excerpt from the book’s Chapter 19 ” Tales of Mexico”  when we were roaming around down south in the state of  Chiapas. The visuals will help to explain what sunshine can do to the spirit although Chiapas also has a dark side…  despite the accident we still had enough time to enjoy the beauty of the state and visited the Cascadas de Agua Azul  and the huge waterfalls of Mis-Hol-Ha.

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 Chiapas is truly the heart of Mexico, with its beautiful countryside and the largest population of Mayan natives. In the late 1990s, the revolutionary “Zapatistas,” a serious political movement guided by their always masked and never recognized leader “Subcommandante Marcos,” were fighting for the attention of the government to voice the concerns of the poor and suppressed in Mexico. As admirable as the cause was, their actions were not the noblest ones. With many guerilla fighters roaming the area, it was certainly not recommended to hang out there as a foreigner, since we were the number-one target for kidnapping. The countermovement to the Zapatistas was the government military police, so the presence of uniformed people was incredibly high in this state, and the chances were above average of being pulled over for all kinds of controls.

Juan was driving along the little windy roads thru the thick brush of the Chiapas rainforest. His driving had gotten better since I had met him, but like the majority of drivers in Mexico, he had no official driver’s license and never received any formal driving lessons. Hence, he was still a madman behind the wheel. Even with my own daredevil track record, I was unnerved. He could be far too reckless in his inexperience. I regularly took naps in the car when he drove so I wouldn’t have to see what he was doing. There we were, out in the jungle roads not even fit for donkey carts, and as usual, Juan was taking the curves a tad bit too fast. In the middle of a right turn, he stopped moving the steering wheel. I yelled for him to watch out, and he shouted back, “I can’t steer and the brakes won’t work!” while, at 60 mph, we headed straight for a wall of thick bushes and trees making up the Chiapas rain forest. We both had our eyes wide open and positioned ourselves the best we could to prepare for the inevitable. With the muffled sound of impact, we ended up entangled with banana trees and other exotic fauna. 

We weren’t hurt but trapped in the car by the foliage around us, that’s how oppressively thick it was out there. I couldn’t even open the door. As we struggled to get out through the driver’s side of the car and I grabbed for some shoes, I realized the engine was on fire. Not again! What was it with cars on fire in my life—was there a hidden message I wasn’t getting, so the same situation kept coming back over and over to haunt me? I had no idea about the cause of the fire, but that moment the cause didn’t concern me, getting our belongings out of the car and extinguishing the fire was a lot more important. The flames were fighting already through the cracks of the closed hood we had to open first before we even were able to squelch them with the mini fire extinguisher I had bought in calculated foresight. The car was buried and stuck headfirst in thick greenery and it was difficult to reach the front of the hood. In hindsight, maybe we also should have brought a machete to clear our way through the jungle in situations like this.Once Juan was able to reach the hood, it was already so hot that he couldn’t touch it anymore. Passersby had stopped and did their best to help to get the car cleared from the brushwood. Somehow, we all managed, the fire was out, and finally, it was over…what was left to see was my expensive car battered and in shambles.


San Francisco

September 9, 2010

The other day I was thinking back to May of 2004 when I’d arrived at the Bay Area. To that time, still living in Miami, through the Internet, I had rented an apartment at the Bay Area peninsula, close to the office, and arrived there with a huge moving truck packed with all my possessions and the three birds. In a way, it was kind of a home coming after all my time in Los Angeles, and California in a way still gives me this innate feeling of being at “home”.

The first year of my return I didn’t have much time to explore, discover or develop – but I knew that I will stay here , settle down, grow (shallow) roots and integrate myself into local society and  create a lifestyle. In 2005, I moved to the West side of San Francisco into a house I liked immediately and I still life exactly there, across the street of the gorgeous Golden Gate Park and two miles away from the beach. I have never lived five years in one place ever since I had left Germany where I still was living with my parents in 1985. Six years in the same geographical area is an eternity but also a good stretch of time to have explored, discovered, created, and developed.

 

 San Francisco is an interesting place and as much as it is a tourist magnet with all the famous landmarks displayed in the touristy Web sites or sightseeing attractions there is a broad range of grey shades to be found and eventually the grey turns into the darkest shades of black. From ultimate glamour to sobering homelessness; from the yuppie success stories of the financial district  to despair and anger of the drug addicts in the Tenderloin; where on parts of Market or Mission people rather lay on the street then walk, from the dive bars in the Mission district to downtown’s Palace Hotel. It is nothing short of a well balanced eco-system. Everybody lives with it. It gives the city color and a certain vibe; it makes it interesting and dangerous to the same time; there is excitement and opportunity. It attracts many interesting people and interesting lifestyles. In the six years of my stay, I have seen it (almost) all and the opportunity of meeting new people and discovering new things every day besides enjoying the marvelous outdoors never seizes. It is like a big and never ending party. God only knows how my journey will continue here in San Francisco but for the moment, it is just fine. My freelance lifestyle is contributing and in turn creating – on a daily basis- and is the backbone of personal growth.        


Change and transition

September 2, 2010

Over the last two week’s I was talking about the Bird Hotel and my involvement in modeling. I treat both things as an integral part of my life transition and deal with them as they come along. The other thing I am spending my time with is the book production itself. I am not going to talk about it in detail because the outcome will be publicly available soon and than people can judge for themselves.

Though a day (when structured) most of the time seems extremely short, it also can be long and productive. Many things can be put into 10 hours of daylight and many things can be accomplished (or not accomplished) depending on mood, level of energy and discipline.

I try to discover new things every day and combine them with the more familiar things in my life. It can be frustrating and confusing at times but eventually rewarding. In order to do this it is necessary to have the answers for two questions readily available.  1) What is my goal ?  and 2) How am I going to get there?  Indeed easy questions – but the answers to them are damn hard to articulate so the brain can grasp the concept to convert ideas and thoughts into productive action leading us to the desired goals.

 It is so much easier to just do whatever we do like robots, day in and day out in order to avoid the challenges to create something new. If there would be a specific change formula I probably already would have gotten it but unfortunately there isn’t and every individual is in charge for their own change and terms of the how and why. On the other hand it would be boring to have a change formula because than the journey would be most probably be boring. Like this, every day is different – every day has its up’s and down’s.

There is never a straight road to reach one’s goals, instead, there are twists and turns, surprises, disappointment, anger, frustration, joy and sadness. But with every new day there are two very important components contributing to the individual change formula and that is faith and hope.