El aroma del pan

“Mujer“, dijo el panadero, “me vuelvo más viejo y mis fuerzas están disminuyendo. Durante toda mi vida he hecho el pan para el pueblo. La gente venía aun de lejos para comprar mis panecillos. ¿Y cuando llegue el día en que yo tenga que dejar para siempre el cuenco de la amasadura, quién seguirá llevando el negocio?” Los dos no tenían hijos.
“Anda”, habló la mujer, “busca a un hombre joven que te eche una mano y a quien puedas enseñarle todo en cuanto a tu arte. Cuando seas viejo y ya no puedas trabajar, él podrá continuar con la tienda y estarás orgulloso de él como de tu propio hijo.”
Dicho y hecho. El panadero hizo divulgar por los pueblos vecinos que buscaba a alguien al que le gustase hacer pan y que quisiera aprender este oficio de él.
En los días siguientes se le presentaron cuatro hombres jóvenes, y no sabía por cuál decidirse. Como la decisión le resultaba tan difícil, acudió a su esposa y le preguntó a ella lo que podía hacer. Dijo esta: “Haz venir a todos otra vez. Te diré a quién vas a tomar.”
Entonces el panadero pidió a los cuatro hombres que viniesen de nuevo. El primer hombre se presentó y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Me gusta madrugar y me gusta acostarme temprano. Y un panadero se entera muy pronto de todas las novedades que se cuentan en el pueblo y en sus alrededores.”
Vino el segundo y la mujer le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Mis padres son difuntos y tengo que mantener esposa e hijos.”
Vino el tercero y le preguntó: “¿Por qué quieres hacerte panadero?”
“Lo considero un honor hacerle a la gente el pan que dios nos ha dado.”
Vino el cuarto, y a él no le preguntó nada.
“Tomamos a este”, le dijo a su marido.
“¿Y por qué a él?”
“Al entrar aspiró profundamente el aroma del pan.”

(Por Stefan Hammel, traduccíon: Bettina Betz)

To Fail with Enthusiasm

In a professional forum a colleague asked, if anybody knew of a certain therapeutical story. He remembered one that he once heard and thought that it was from a famous storyteller. Until then I never had actually written in this forum but now I wrote on behalf of this colleague’s question that I thought it was the famous story about a tiger. I was quite happy that I was able to contribute something at last until I read the response of another colleague. “I don’t know anything about a tiger”, he wrote, “but I guess you may have thought about the famous lion story”. I instantly sank into a hole three miles deep, full of shame and embarrassment. Now wasn’t that just typical of me and my incomplete knowledge? Shortly afterward I told a friend of mine what had happened, still very ashamed. But he hugged me and said “But you gave that wrong information with much love and enthusiasm”. I looked at him and began to work my way out of that hole.

Le gramophone

J’ai un phonographe à la maison. J’y fais passer des chansons comme « Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen » – Seulement ne pas pleurer à cause de l’amour et « Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n » – Je sais qu’il y aura un miracle un jour. Zarah Leander chante ça avec sa voix basse – c’est magnifique ! Puis j’écoute la voix de corbeau de Louis Armstrong, et pour moi c’est une rencontre avec lui-même, avec lui tout personnellement. J’écoute Caruso, il chante avec son vibrato depuis la nuit des temps : « O sole mio… ». Leurs voix volent vers moi des rainures du disque, sans électricité. Elles arrivent vers moi comme les voix de ces personnes même. Quand leurs voix retentissent du pavillon, les chanteurs sont des hôtes dans mon temps. Je les rencontre dans la même pièce. Puis le gramophone se tait, leurs voix retournent dans cet autre monde séparé du notre, là où habitent les anciens possesseurs de ces voix.

Margarita y Lucía

En la rendija de un muro vivían dos lagartijas, Margarita y Lucía. Lucía estaba todo el día echada en el muro tomando sol. Margarita pasaba la mayoría del tiempo buscando insectos para sí misma y para sus hijos. Cuando veía a Lucía echada en el muro, se enfadaba.
“¡Tú cómo gastas el tiempo! Si fueras lagartija decente, por fin te preocuparías del bienestar de tus hijos. ¿Qué es lo que haces todo el día allí arriba?” Lucía pestañó y dijo: “Recupero energía. De esta manera sí que hago algo para mis hijos.”
“Lo veo diferente”, gruñó Margarita. “Y un día te llevará el águila ratonera o el halcón.”
“Esperemos a ver qué pasa”, opinó Lucía y se desperezó en el sol. Margarita prefiría buscar presa en la sombra de los arbustos bajos. Pasaba mucho tiempo cazando hormigas. A menudo parecía cansada. Su vida estaba cada día más amenazada: Ya no tenía nada que contraponer a la rapidez de los gatos y a la de las comadrejas.
Los hijos de Lucía se volvieron fuertes y despabilados, todo como ella misma. Pronto empezaron cogiendo las arañas más gordas, los cárabos más rápidos y aun grandes libélulas. Pero lo que les gustaba lo más era echarse en el muro al lado de su madre y estirarse a la luz del sol.

Everything Else

In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.

Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.

The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

Sometimes clients who come to therapy describe themselves or each other as broken, as rubbish, as worthless… and sometimes they may not use such words but treat themselves and others like rubbish. Some injure themselves, some try to suicide. And possibly all of this is happening because they didn’t learn to discover that they are valuable themselves. I believe that everything in life can become valuable and can be seen as a value. Anything, even the most unuseful things in life can be utilized for making life precious. I don’t mean that this were an easy task. The contrary is true: “To turn shit into roses” (Virginia Satir) is what the Germans call “Lebenskunst”, meaning, the high art of living a fulfilled life.
This short documentary is telling a story on this art, a story on how to turn rubbish into music and rubbish lives intoproud, happy beautiful lives!
Have a wonderful day, all of you!

The Gift of Life

I had a dream. I saw a farmer walking over his field, scattering seeds on the ground, a great many. And I saw the same man some time later. He went to the same field, and he had a scythe with him, and the field was white and stood full of the finest wheat. And he said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

Then I went home. It was in the evening, and it was getting dark. The windows were lit up and I could look behind them. In the first house I saw a teacher with her school class. She sowed knowledge and understanding. And I saw the same woman some years later, as she talked to the same pupils who had since grown up. And she said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And she praised the gift of life.

In a second window I saw a mother who taught her son to walk. She took him by his hands, praised him on every step, and encouraged him to take another. And I saw the same mother twenty years later at the wedding ceremony of her boy, who was not a boy any more. And she said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And she praised the gift of life.

In the third window I saw a jobless man, who helped his mother care for his father, and he went shopping for his sick neighbour, and he went to his sister’s house in the evening to look after the children while she was at a parent-teacher conference. And I saw the same man a few years later. Surprisingly he had found some work, and tomorrow was his first working day. He looked back at the past years. And he said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

In the fourth window I saw someone who sowed smiles. He sowed friendly inquiries: “Is your wife better?” He sowed birthday greetings and invitations to delicious suppers.

In the fifth window I saw someone who sowed listening-to-children and telling-them-stories and wetting-them-with-the-lawn-sprinkler-in-summer and rustling-with-them-through-the-fallen-leaves-in-autumn. He sowed throwing-snowballs-in-winter and hunting-easter-eggs-in-spring.

Last of all I looked into a window, and I believe this must have been heaven. Again I saw the sower, and with him were all these people whom I had seen in my dream. And on the field the fruit had grown. There grew the happiness of a child in the middle of a pillow fight. There grew the consolation for a widow, who had good friends. The field bore the relief of a pupil who, for the first time, had a C instead of an F in maths. There grew the patience of adults and the helpfulness of children. And I heard someone say: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.