The Crooked Bird

Another contribution by Katharina Lamprecht who will also be at the Festival in October

Sometimes there is a little sparrow sitting on the clothesline in front of my kitchen window. I like to observe him, he is quite funny and quite different than the other birds. Somehow he always looks as if he was a little tipsy. He dithers a bit on the line and you can see that it takes an effort to keep his balance because he sticks out one leg and flaps his wings. He generally makes the impression of being quite dizzy. But it doesn’t seem to bother him at all, on the contrary, I get the feeling that he enjoys his slanting position very much.

A friend of mine, who is an ornithologist, said that this phenomenon goes by the name of “crooked bird”, common knowledge amongst experts. He explained, that there are indeed many birds, who love to frolic through storms and high winds. Back and forth, up and down, left and right they let themselves dash around by the wind until they don´t know anymore where they are, don´t know up from down or back from forth. And it is obvious that they have so much fun with it, that they keep the dizziness even when there is no wind at all. Just like the sparrow on my clothesline.

Scientists suspect that these crooked birds have a kind of inner anchor. Somewhere in their bodies has to be a place that gives them the needed security to be able to always find their way and relate to a stable, secure, safe and unshakeable point, no matter what. In this way they can relax, be calm and at ease, at least internally. They can feel straight and upright even if they have no orientation in the outer world. The scientists cannot determine where this inner anchor is but they are quite sure, it´s there. Perhaps one can compare it to the radar that bats use. This we can´t see either but there is no doubt it´s there.

“We don´t really know how all of this functions, but it has to be somehow like that”, my friend said and grinned. To be honest, I´m not quite sure if I can believe his story or if he wanted to pull my leg. But watching my little sparrow, reeling and rocking with obvious delight on my clothesline, I keep thinking that he surely must have such an inner anchor. Even if he has not the slightest idea, where it is or that it even exists. But it´s got to be in there somewhere, an area within him that gives him the absolute certainty to be safe and sound in all of these dizzying situations. An anchor that keeps him upright and gives him balance.

So seeing him on the line, I imagine that, the more he careens, the bigger and stronger the anchor in him gets and he is even more centered. With stormy winds outside and the feeling of security and safety inside, the little sparrow can enjoy his crookedness as much as he likes. And I wonder, where my inner anchor might be…

Après la vague

Quelqu’un m’a écrit : »J’ai été chargé de préparer un séminaire d’aide à soi-même ayant pour sujet « l’angoisse ». Tous les participants souffrent d’une épilepsie. Auriez-vous quelques idées sur les histoires que je pourrais y raconter ayant pour sujet l’imprévisibilité des crises et la détresse qui y est liée ? »

Ma réponse fut la suivante : »Je propose que vous racontiez quelque chose sur les habitants de quelques villages sur la côte ayant survécu au grand tsunami il y a quelques années. Ils ont été pour ainsi dire des témoins qui s’en sont sortis avec plus de peur que de mal. Les habitants d’un village ont toujours regardé la mer avec les nerfs à vif en attendant la grande vague suivante. Ils ont organisé toute leur vie de manière à y être préparés. On pourrait dire aussi qu’ils ont gâché toute leur vie avec cette préparation. Et la mer était presque toujours calme… Les habitants d’un village voisin y ont vécu presque comme si rien ne s’était passé. En abordant les dangers de la mer ils disaient : « Si nous partons, nous partons. Mais maintenant nous sommes là, complètement. » Et il y avait d’autres villages … Vous pouvez dessiner une carte sur un tableau à feuilles mobiles sur lequel ces villages sont représentés. Demandez aux participants de vous dire dans lequel des deux villages ils veulent vivre, ou comment vivent les habitants dans un troisième et quatrième village, ou alors où les participants du séminaire si ça se trouve aimeraient mieux vivre. Demandez aux participants ce que signifie ce contact souhaitable avec la mer, à quoi on le reconnait et à quoi est dû le fait que les villageois mènent une vie d’assez bonne qualité malgré l’ancien tsunami. Vous pouvez demander aux participants de dessiner d’autres villages pour d’autres comportements avec la mer qui est rarement sauvage et dans la plus part des cas calme. Vous pouvez demander aux participants de dessiner le comportement avec la mer sur la carte ou, si la carte est placée au sol, de le marquer avec des maisons de Monopoly. Il serait aussi possible de marquer le site actuel avec le comportement d’une mer qui est rarement sauvage et la plus part du temps calme et de marquer le site souhaité et de réfléchir pour savoir qui et quoi peuvent les aider à déménager du domicile A vers B. »

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 Ginnel

I knew a man who told me this story. Someone came to him when he, like you, no longer knew what to do. “There’s nothing more I can do”, he said. “I’m stuck in a dead end”. Then something occurred to him – he who told me this – and he explained:

“This reminds me of the small passages from one street to the next, called ‘ginnels’. You can only get through them on foot. They are not much wider than a man. In the area I live, I know a dead end like you describe. When you go in, it goes no further, as is the case with dead ends. But with this dead end it is different, and I believe there are more like it: When you go right to the end, you find the ginnel somewhere on the side, quite inconspicuous between the houses.”